“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life.” -Elise de Wolfe
One of the great things about being an artist is learning how to make things beautiful. Early on in college, I started defining a style in my art. It came with a lot of uncharted waters (and a lot of paint-stained fingers) and slowly I started learning where I was gifted (and where I wasn’t :)). It challenged me over and over again as I was stretched into new mediums, styles and criticism. It was hard. But it was beautiful. It meant constantly surrounding myself with the creative. With the created… And I began to come alive. It was then – in a sense – that I decided that I wanted to make everything around me beautiful. That would be my life.
Photograph via Jake LeBoeuf
The thing that I didn’t understand at first was that the world wasn’t quite so beautiful outside of the small world I’d known. And over time, through some hard experiences, and some major eye-opening worldviews, I saw something much different. I saw a broken, hurting world. I saw pain. I saw starvation. I saw extreme poverty that I barely knew existed. I saw orphans dying alone. I saw women selling themselves for pennies. And suddenly, it was all right in front of me. Raw. Painful.
But a funny thing happened. As I wrestled with these newfound realizations, God took me back to the artist within. It was as if He whispered quietly to me… “Remember how you decided you wanted to make everything around you beautiful? Well, I still want you to. For me. For these broken, hurting people. I want you to help make their lives beautiful.” And somehow, over the last few years, He’s begun weaving those hurts and my talents together…
I’ll be honest. Sometimes I don’t really know what that looks like. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything in the scheme of things. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with the enormity of the pain around the world that it nearly crushes me. I feel like my biggest efforts (even over a lifetime) are like trying to clear the ocean with an eye-dropper.
Photograph via UNICEF, Georgina Cranston
Comfort, and a lot of vision for the future, comes in the realization that God doesn’t call any of us to save the whole world. Jesus already did that. He doesn’t call me to make the WHOLE world ‘beautiful’ on my own. Truth is, victory is already predestined. Satan won’t win in the end. And even while right now there is a lot of hurt next door, and across the globe, there ARE things we can do. They may not be big things… but I do know that our talents, our vision, and our belief in a BIG GOD can change things.
Person by person – piece by piece – beauty comes from ashes and hope rises from the pain. And THAT is beautiful.