Qualifying was in the air tonight.

We live in art. It is in the paint chips on the table, passionate discussions about color and opinions about everything. Art sleeps in the baby grand in the living room, and it is where we do our living, at night, with candles and one another. Paintings hang on the walls, treasures from church rummage sales, attics, and beginning painting classes.

We make art with our words, weaving wit through our dinner conversation and morning passings.

Art swims in our heads and leaves the tangible expression somehow void of the original intention.

Tonight art gathers around the piano and shows off its qualified talents. She hasn't sung that since high school, he hasn't played that since his last recital, she's losing her touch, she has a cold, I only play by ear, he missed a measure, can we go back and try that again. To get it perfect.

Or at least acceptable.

To our ears. To our eyes. To our limited understanding of the original intention.
We qualify our art in this house--because we are harsh judges of the final outcome, often forgetting that excellence falls behind the scenes. Forgetting that invention is for the consumers, not the creators.

I tell my writing students tonight that I do not expect perfection, or even almost so. I expect that we work, and here I ask if one can recite a passage about it. He volunteers and I like the version he's memorized: "Whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord." Here I say that I desire excellence in motivation, in practical application, and in expectation.

I desire no qualifying art. We create with Him in mind, not us, not practice, not performance.


He did that for us.

October 2007