The phrase “apprentice to beauty” keeps coming up in my prayers and journaling time. I think that captures, at the very heart, this call to which I keep responding. Whether as writer, artist, spiritual director, teacher, dream-tender, wife, or friend, in crafting the art of my life I seek the wisdom and guidance of the Great Beauty of the world that beats through the heart of God.
Beauty calls to us, wakes us out of our routine, surprises us, holds us in the present moment, fills us with awe, immerses us in the world of the senses, bridges us to the holy, helps us to see beneath and beyond, slows us down, invites us to linger, connects us to who we really are, and inspires in us a response. An apprentice is one who submits oneself to someone else with more experience for the purposes of learning and growing in skill or wisdom. I offer myself to Beauty, to be called, awakened, slowed, and inspired.
When I was a child, my parents called me “the sensual child” because I loved textures, tastes, smells, and sounds. I could never have known how that innate passion would be crafted into my work and relationships. Funny how the things we love as a child really do reflect some of our deepest desires.
I have been thinking that perhaps I should put "Apprentice to Beauty" on my business cards rather than the usual lists of job titles. Or at least try that out as an answer to the question “what do you do?” It is a question I dislike intensely because it reinforces our identities as tied up with what we do rather than who we are, yet I find myself asking that all the time. I need a good alternative if anyone has one.
So what do you do? :-)
~Christine Valters Paintner