I’ve been thinking about the tension between the quiet voice and the piercing alarm. It is a difficult one to hold in mind, to balance with integrity, to express with any clarity. A wise friend said, “you need to help us see what you see.” I am not sure I can in a way others can grasp, except through comparisons.
There are two very different sounds going on in our time. One is slow, steady and uncelebrated. The other is an irritating, very troubling, low sounding warning. We all hear it.
With some friends recently in an exhibit, we were looking at heartening images, when each phone in each pocket started echoing an Amber Alert. Beyond the walls, someone was in desperate trouble. Phones were pulled out, screens looked at, some prayers whispered. . . and then silence. The phones were put away, some turned off. We all would rather look at the lovely things. Yes, the alarm was irritating, but necessary, and in that sense “good”. It was a sounder for someone unknown. We are living right alongside the bad, while wanting to shield ourselves with mufflers. Even using those words “good” and “bad” is up for grabs, mocked, thrown to the wind.
I am mourning the muddled distinction. I am troubled by this blurring of things that need to matter, while being lulled to sleep by the insistent matter-less. This morning I read this word “and they followed vanity and became vain.”. If what is good and what is bad is no longer acknowledged, carefully considered, wrestled with, articulated, then in our blind arrogance all we will have to negotiate through is bad.
To honor some kind of distinction then, I offer this link today. The artist, Christine LaFuente, has ability to highlight clarity of color and light in remarkable ways, but always midst very unsaturated mud colors. Look at the surrounds in her work. The settings are dim, completely uninteresting on their own. So, the piercing bits of beauty are apprehended all the more. Her gestural gems are gathered out of mud. It’s the boring that gives the beauty its chance to captivate. To me her work is a parable, a picture of the distinctiveness between that which shines, and that which is only a passing setting.
If you care to comment, look around you as you go about your day: what do you see, or hear, even just one thing: that shines, and what is only passing backdrop?