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On Vision, the Arts and the Lilies

Every once and a while a piece of visual art captures the essence of a concept and so vividly speaks, that what one person may spend a life-time trying to convey in words, another captures in the snap of a shutter behind a lens. My friend Paul Johnson, an accomplished photographer has done exactly that.

The eye of an artist is perhaps simply the refinement of the skill set of the scientist? Science, maybe nothing more than the exploration of what the artist has already captured? Both are critical to our understanding of life. In fact, religion may be our attempt at explaining the gap between the two, when in reality they are one and the same. “For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (II Cor. 4:18).

My life has always been about the future, and the eternal. The process of casting vision and affording that vision opportunity to become reality; a dance perhaps, carefully engaging the creativity of people, cautiously allowing beauty the room for self-organizing, trusting that once vision has captured the human spirit, the resourcing and talent for that vision will make a way for itself. Actually when a commitment is made, true vision will attract its own provision. Sometimes the distance between vision and provision is our own attempt at over-ideation, when human ego gets ahead of divine inspiration. Perhaps I am there in this post, so I will move own.

I should point once more to the image captured by my friend, one that portrays life’s journey (the evergreens), our unknown future (captured in the perception of distance), a necessary grounding (felt in the ties and gravel), the criticality of goals that move our life forward (the utility of the hardened rails), and yes, the awareness of risk (the distant fog).

All these elements are critical considerations as we leave the comfort of our present space and move toward our unique mark on humanity. For some however, the risk of vision brings paralysis, while in others, toil, laboring so much that they neither enjoy the journey, nor arrive at their divine destination. Perhaps the reason for these words, from the ultimate artist, “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Luke 12:27).

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