I suck at art.
Like hardcore. Since I’m either pretty good or really good at most things, me struggling with art is probably why I used to always make fun of it in high-school.
I had a super traumatic experience too that led me to ‘hate’ art. In high-school, I had to take an art class. After waiting as long as I could, I finally took the class. The first day the teacher told us that she was not going to grade on ability but only on the amount of effort that we put into our work.
I was thinking – ‘sweet I can get an A in this class because I can work hard and my art still be awful.’
The teacher thought I wasn’t trying because in her words “no one can try and have art look this bad.” Except I honestly was trying, it’s not my fault I can’t draw a stick figure correctly.
I was the only person in class to not get an A. I guess the teacher felt sorry for me so instead of the C I had she gave me a B overall.
Needless to say, this just fueled my disinterest in art.
Fastforward 6 years.
There are a lot of people around me that love art. Some of them have produced amazing pieces that I could never dream up let alone create. They visit local art museums and cafes that display art. Their biggest passion in life is to create art. Everything they do revolves around that passion.
For others, it is theater, singing, or even dancing. The performing arts – and they are so good at it! It is their passion, and they love it!
Meanwhile, I’m like –
I don’t know how to interact with these people.
Like I said art scares me. Now if someone wants to talk about football, soccer, hockey, basketball, or underwater basket weaving. I’m all in.
But art???? Geezzz I don’t know what to do.
In most people’s world, when you don’t connect with someone you just move on. BUT if I’m trying to love all people well. Is not connecting with someone really a good reason to move on?
I don’t think so.
So what am I supposed to do?
Listen. Listen Listen.
Might be my personality, might be my generation, might be my DNA, but I (and a lot of people along with me) don’t listen very well. And when we do listen, what we are listening for is a way to ‘connect’ what the person is saying back to ourselves and what we do/care about.
People love being heard (hey don’t you?), not just the words they say, but the emotions and intent behind the words. People want to be understood and known – fully.
Admittedly I’m not great at listening, but my mom is. She is so good at listening that sometimes people dump their whole life story onto her without realizing it. I (creeper alert) observed her talking to people at church one week, and I think I figured out her secret.
She listens with the intent of understanding and asking a follow-up question. The reason people share so much with her is that she is continuously seeking to understand the person and their story. This comes through as asking questions and wanting to know more.
IF we did that with the people around us, maybe we’d have fewer disagreements. Maybe people would feel loved more. Maybe we’d know how to serve them better. Maybe our relationships would be better.
Love. Love. And Yes More Love.
When Jesus said things like, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35, I think this was the type of love he was talking about. We should strive to know our friends, our families, our peers, but most importantly the people we don’t connect with.
It’s not easy – I still don’t get art. I probably never will. But, I know that all the people that love art are valuable, awesome people. Therefore I should seek to understand them. I should learn about their life. Dare I say it……
Dare I say it……
I should care. Not just intellectually but the other people/person should feel that care. So if they care about art – I care about art because I care about them. I’m trying to love them, so I want to understand.
Sure, I’ll probably never paint like Picasso. And I’ll probably never visit an art museum on my own – but if you want to talk to me about your art and why you love it – I’d be pumped to listen, ask questions, and seek to understand.
PS. My mom is pretty awesome. You should check out her stuff at http://www.rumandcolaforthesoul.com/