By: Tessa Valadez
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E.B. White
My friend, Lynn See, showed me this picture the other day and all I could get out was, “hmm… yep.” She had mentioned that it reminded her of us. She and I both enjoy the arts. Anything. You name it: theatre, dance, film, writing, painting — anything that allows one to enjoy life and express the beauty in its glories and complexities. There is sorrow, there is hope, there is broken, there is mended, there is judgment, there is mercy, there is grace, there is joy. There is joy in all of it. There is beauty in all of it.
Hard days = joy.
The tears, the sweat, the anguish, the hurt, the loneliness, the disrespect, the reputation scorned, the rainy day spoiling sunny plans, weakness exposed, disappointing loved ones, tearing down…
Tears: acknowledging pain and meeting it in its moments. Sweat: knowing work is producing fruit, patience, perseverance. Anguish: recognizing the state of our heart and giving it permission to lament. Hurt: understanding we do have value. Loneliness: remembering the company of friends and the ways we may have taken advantage of it before. Disrespect: learning to love without being loved back. Reputation scorned: going back to our roots and asking ourselves what really matters in life. Rainy days and spoiled sunny plans: finding life sprout because a spoiled plan turned into a seed of opportunity. Weakness exposed: trusting God works best through our weaknesses by providing community to hold up our arms when they’re weak. Disappointing loved ones: still finding grace in their eyes and a readiness to forgive. Tearing down: building up.
There is redemption in everything. I challenge you: seek it out.
Good days = joy.
The laughter, the peace, the community, the comfort of a shared moment, a pull-the-heartstrings movie, a hero forming from the day-to-day hard day, a glorious day of plans carrying on without interruption, discovering strength in teamwork…
The crazy thing about this list, is that I usually see pieces of this in my hard day, when I choose to glance at it out of the corner of my eye. Not only that, but I discover these forms of goodness by first experiencing the hard days.
Every day gives us much to think about, and truly count our blessings. My desire to improve the world and enjoy it holds hands so beautifully in the act of thanksgiving and a trust in the knowledge that redemption is still at work and evident — in the turning of seasons and asking forgiveness — and nothing and no one is too far from being redeemed.
This is art.