Creativity as Spiritual Longing
"It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Joel 2:28
The music that really turns me on is either running toward God or away from God. Both recognize the pivot, that God is at the center of the jaunt. Bono
It’s been said that thoughts are the ultimate pilgrims. Something within us leans into the horizon, yearns for a larger story, a more expansive tale in which our hearts are welcomed towards a homecoming. As though from beyond, beauty beckons us. All the parts of our life that appear in exile intuitively honor this presence we call beauty and await its visitation.
The truly beautiful will always be a mediating metaphor. It will never replace God or seek to make Him an object. In fact, real beauty will continually flee the need to domesticate and capture God. When this spiritual longing is allowed to manifest itself in my heart of hearts I sense my inner most parts formed for eternal kinship with the Father.
As Saint John of the Cross said...
I did not have to ask my heart what it wanted
Because of all the desires I have ever known,
Just one did I cling to
For it was the essence of all desire:
To know beauty
To know beauty. This is the vocation of some. In a time of great ugliness and darkness beauty often eludes my heart. Its glimmering shafts of light are lost in my hurried harried pace. I demand it reveal itself in the shallowness of my habits, the attachment of my heart to sin, the pettiness of my soul towards God’s creation. Occasionally in dreams beauty appears like a doe in the dusk of nightfall. Veiled in its presence but powerfully near in its enchantment, I capture a glimpse. I know such delight in its revealing. But just as quickly it is spirited away & I am left with this longing. I am sad. How would I have known that this journey home meant relinquishing over and over again the very place in my heart that was meant for habitation? He will not allow me to schedule His disclosure. I can only hold it momentarily and then my heart mourns its loss and I begin the entire process over and over again.
But alas, I cannot confine nor take into custody this grand eternal calling. This heavenly sighting serves as a nudge into the urgent arena of creativity according to O’Donohue. What my dreams imagined forth into the visible realm where indeed only gifts of the imagination and creativity that liberated my heart from attachment. Beauty allowed me to sit in the invisible nature of what my mind sees as concrete. At this point I am left with the Holy Spirit's reminder that my very being is eternally sustained and ordered by a Beauty much more overwhelming than the doe. I am being pulled into the very heart of my Father’s love for me. It is this love that all my imaginings have envisioned. All the seemingly poetic make believe or artistic meanderings, all the deposits of awakened humanity, now find a home in the Father’s heart.
O’Donohue says this so magnificently when he poets, “The beauty of God is the warmth of the divine affection. You did not invent yourself or bring yourself here. In terms of human time, the mystery of your individuality was dreamed for millions of years. Your strange and restless uniqueness is an intimate expression of God and who you are says something of who God is.”
And so this sacred hunger, the deep caring, and the unrelenting desire satiated only in the beatific vision of my welcoming makes all so luminous. In the seemingly limitless alone the inconceivable is made intimate and I sing the transcendent. No abstract anonymous force or essence, this desire and longing is for a person. It is not “What is beauty?…but Who is beauty? And so in innumerable apparitions beauty appears and my heart is illuminated and my holy aspirations find refuge and are as our friend C.S. Lewis said so well, surprised by joy.