Saturday, September 8, 2007

Walking on Water

"To be alive is to be vulnerable. To be born is to start the journey towards death. If taxes have not always been inevitable, death has. What, then, does life mean? No more than 'Out, brief candle'?

The artist struggles towards meaning. Mahler was terrified of death and worked out his fear in music. I had a letter from a college student at Harvard saying, 'I am afraid of nonbeing.' That same day, a friend with whom I was having lunch said, 'I cannot bear the thought of annihilation.'

Art is an affirmation of life, a rebuttal of death.

And here we blunder into paradox again, for during the creation of any form of art, art which affirms the value and the holiness of life, the artist must die.

To serve a work of art, great or small, is to die, to die to self.

The great artists, dying to self in their work, collaborate with their work, know it and are known by it as Adam knew Eve, and so share in the mighty act of Creation.

That is our calling, the calling of all of us..."

---Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art


  1. "To serve a work of art, great or small, is to die, to die to self."

    It's what sometimes makes them so hard to let go of, to let go of self in the service of the greater thing.

    Thanks for the reminder, and using L'Engle's words to do it.

  2. She was, and through her work, WILL always be amazing.

  3. I am and always will be such of fan of such a great artist! The world is missing out without her in the world.

  4. What a perfectly fitting post.

    I also am terrified of annihilation, but I finally realized that if that's what happens to us when we die, why then, I won't even possess that consciousness to be pissed off about it, now will I?

    And now, this is a VERY deep discussion to be typing in the comments section of someone's blog, so I'll just tiptoe away now . . . (your blog entries do that to me!)


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