Sometimes I pause to think about how different we CYT people – we theater people – we writers and dancers and actors – are from other people.
I contrast it with other people I know – lovely, wonderful people whom I love, but who just “aren’t in to” all that theater and arts stuff. I hold nothing against them for this, but I feel like there’s a part of me deep down that they don’t understand. They are great people, but they just don’t connect with that art that’s woven into my skin.
And that’s okay – it doesn’t make me better and them worse – because I’m sure they have things inside them that I don’t connect to.
But I’m so very glad there are others out there like me – who get the need, nay the ache, to express their soul through music, through drama, through dance, through art, and through words. I’m so glad they understand all my expressive, dramatic, deeply emotional parts.
There was a time in my life where I felt ashamed of that part of me. There were people who laughed at how dramatic I was (well, people still do, but not antagonistically anymore). There was this social stigma against loving to read and write stories. There was the “looking down” upon the love of all things Disney and musical theater related.
But then – then I moved, I signed up for drama at my new high school, became a part of CYT – and I suddenly found my people. People who embraced that artistic side of me because they also had it. People who let me feel free – free to dream and sing about it and not feel ashamed of it. People who might have seemed a little “weird” to the rest of the world, but with whom I never laughed harder in my life.
And I discovered not only that it was okay to be that way, but that it was necessary to express this God-given love of beauty and art.
Because it’s not a sin to be that way – and I think that God created some of us to feel the world more deeply in order to interpret it and portray it more clearly to those around us.
We need this art to bring beauty to our brokenness. We need the storytelling to join us humans together. We need the rich emotion to go to the deepest parts of ourselves – extract our secret places and set them free in the safest places – the stages and pages of our lives.
One theater professor in college repeatedly told us that actors are “warriors of the heart” – and it’s true. Who else can get up on a stage in front of an audience of strangers and bare all their soul with raw emotion to them? And for every audience member who has wept because they understood – they connected with that actor onstage – but could never express it that way themselves – we do it for you.
We act out our stories, we dance them, we paint them, we write them, we sing them to connect all of us together – those who can express our deepest emotions that way and those who can’t.
I can’t tell you how many times my breath has been caught by a line written so beautifully or a photograph taken so artistically or a dance danced so gracefully – and I thanked God that that person was using their abilities to touch my heart – because I could never do that.
My most favorite part of the movie La La Land (among many others) was when Mia sang her audition song at the end of the movie with these lines –
“She told me:
A bit of madness is key
To give us new colors to see.
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that’s why they need us
So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, the poets, and plays
And here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make.”
It was a beautiful reminder that all of the art in this world – in its various forms – isn’t just a nice side serving or extraneous commodity. It’s necessary to give meaning to life.
God could have chosen to leave it out. But he didn’t. He told history through stories. He gave us living art through sunsets, oceans, and forests. He gave us music to express things we can’t through mere words. He allowed us – His creation – to join Him in His masterful work of creating. The fact that we are creative most explicitly reflects our Creator.
And there is no comparing the joy that I feel when I get to express my creative, artistic side – because I feel that I am giving glory to God in expressing my gifts back to Him.
Creativity might make us a little weird sometimes. It might make us laugh too loudly, sigh too dramatically, or live too colorfully. But without it, life would not only be more boring, but it wouldn’t have a way to connect to our hearts.
So I’ve determined to embrace it wholeheartedly – and never lose touch with this part of who I am. It is vital to my identity of being an image-bearer of God Himself. He has so much to do still with these passions, and I desperately don’t want to waste them just because I don’t have the time or because I let others tell me they weren’t that important.
Art is always important. For art brings another facet of God’s beauty to earth for those who care to see it. And when that is the artist’s purpose in creating, he or she will always bring Him glory.
Image is of the Bing Crosby Theater.