We learn about telling the truth in school. My professor says, “I think the most important thing you need to remember is to seek to tell the truest stories.”
I’d like to be a truth seeker, and the similarities of what I’m learning about seeking the truth in journalism, and what I know about seeking the truth in Jesus, do not escape me. Now I try to seek those truths everywhere I go: in the Christmas lights, and the commute to school, and the way my nephew Noah can say “Liza” now. All of these truths fill me up — wide-eyed wonder I keep grasping onto.
Advent is beginning, and with it the active waiting that comes from this month long search for truth. But I don’t want to stop searching when Advent is finished. I want to keep finding truth in all the places I go.
I decided, then, to write my final assignments about the things that matter to me — the truth that matters to me. So I write papers about maternal mortality in Uganda, and sex trafficking in Toronto, and what it looks like to be a voice for someone who may not be able to speak yet.
I was upset with God six months ago.
“Why did you make me an artist?” I asked him. I had been thinking about Uganda, about the mothers who are dying there. “Why couldn’t I have been a doctor, or someone who can do something? I do not want to make art that someone will simply pin on Pinterest. I want to make things that have meaning.”
I entered college and promptly stopped making art.
Journalism seemed to be more meaningful. At least I could write about what was happening in the world.
Soon my soul felt cluttered. I stared at my paints longingly, the watercolours that reminded me of streaky sunrises, and the brushes that bent between my fingers and rested on the pad of my thumb. My canvases were blank and staring up at me. I found myself writing down the art I would make, if I would allow myself to make it.
When we were learning about truth in school, I kept thinking about my artwork, and my blog, and the novel that’s sitting on my desktop. What if those things were my truth? What if I wasn’t meant to tell the truth through being a doctor, or a scientist, but through letters on a canvas, and words on a tiny blog?
What if the way God created me, and the gifts he purposely and intricately tangled around my lungs and heart and membrane, could in fact offer meaning?
I chose to believe this. I booked myself an art show.
I buy a new book for Advent this year, and so far I’ve missed more days than I’ve read. I try not to feel like a failure because I can’t seem to commit to reading daily. My mind feels very full these days — I think mostly because multi-tasking and I don’t work well together, and with three weeks left of the first semester, and my second art show coming up on Friday, multi-tasking is unfortunately inevitable.
I start to get scared for Friday. I dream no one comes. I dream I ruin all of my artwork before the show. I wake up and decide my art show is a release of my truth: that this is something I love, and that I can tell the truth through art, not just words.
I practice opening my hands and pretending my art and my words and my passions are flying from my fingertips. I tell myself, When you hold on tight, you benefit no one. When you release, you have no idea how far it might go.
I’ll practice releasing my truth this Friday. I’ll choose to believe that it’s meaningful. I’ll think about the Truth that I love, and the truth that I’m learning. My professor said, “I think the most important thing you need to remember is to seek to tell the truest stories.” I write this down and decide not to forget it.