My husband observed something about me recently that I would never have thought of myself. He called me a frustrated artist. He may have something there.
This comment came as part of a general discussion about figuring out your purpose and passion in life. If you’re lucky enough to discover it (not everybody does), what do you do about it? Do you have a cosmic obligation to make that thing the focus of all your energies? Or is that selfish and unreasonable? I know there are people out there in the world who turn their passion into their vocation. But not many.
There are lots of “good works” out there that are necessary for society to function properly, but that would probably never be anybody’s passion. Like garbage collecting. Or publishing a church newsletter. Or dusting (I despise dusting). All important in their own way.
And yet, I see so much wasted potential in myself and in the people around me that it wrings my heart. We focus our energies on “good works” that pay the mortgage and put food on the table. But think of how many Picassos and Elizabeth Zimmermans we’re missing on our planet because people are squandering their time and potential on lesser (if perhaps more lucrative) pursuits. I can’t help thinking that there would probably be less anger, frustration, depression, stress and violence in our world if we valued and enabled the exercise of people’s passions as “a good day’s work.”
Yeah, I know this is impractical. But it’s frustrating to reach out for fulfillment and have your hand swatted away. And to realize that you’re doing the swatting yourself.
My husband calls me a frustrated artist. And I feel both confused and…recognized. I’ve never thought of myself as an artist at all. And yet, I think I’ve been looking for quiet ways to express myself through the material world my whole life. Knitting, spinning, dancing, blogging –I’ve literally never been without some little artistic safety valve. I simply never recognized it for what it was.
What would my life be like if I could remove the word “frustrated” from this description of myself?