Sunday, February 24, 2013

If It Be Your Will.....

I wrote in my last post that there are two songs by singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen which have been especially inspirational and moving during my recent artistic revival. I wrote about Cohen's famous song - Anthem and how I listen to it to be reminded that even our imperfect offerings are valuable when offered in Love.  

There is a second song ( and really I love just about all of his work) that has meant so much to me lately- If It Be Your Will. Cohen has said that this song was written as a prayer during a particularly challenging time in his life.
He submits his gift of song to the Lord and says,

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will

If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

This song is so incredibly powerful to me. Although I don't choose to (publicly) express myself through song, I can relate entirely to his plea with the Lord. Many times in recent days, I have asked God to either give me the ability to paint and to create or to take the desire away from me. Either to help me to overcome the obstacles I perceive or to simply set me at peace about this urge to make art.

Art has become, for me, a way to commune with God, an opportunity to revere the Holy and to make visible the Divine and creative Spirit that resides in me, an act of worship. I believe the Lord has given me the desire and the ability to be creative, but if its not His will for me to do this, then I am fully ready to set it aside. I never, ever want to be outside the will of God.

Here I attach a video of The Webb Sisters singing his song live in London with a great intro from Cohen. I love Leonard's version, but the Webb Sisters really are beautiful.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


When I was little, I believed I was, and always would be, an artist. I don't really know why I gave up on that belief as I approached adulthood.  I floundered and flopped my way back to very, very self conscious attempts at art in college... and off and on throughout my twenties.
And now, midway through my thirties, 
I am finally ready to be whatever kind of artist I am, without worry over whether or not its good.
 Just a humble offering from a willing servant. 

The old voices and old ways (perpetual failure and doubt) want to worm their way back in. 
 I hear them and then tell them: they have no power over me anymore:
My God is a Creator and He made me in His image.
 I may never be a famous or good artist, but I can paint, and I am a child of God.
I have something to offer.

Can I tell you how Leonard Cohen helps me through my doubtful and worried moments? The ones where I feel... this is stupid. I hate this. I give up.  (How many artists put on music to create? I am sure many. All?) I put on music and play the same songs over and over. Leonard Cohen makes me want to move to Paris. I get lost in his poetic and moody lyrics. Two of his songs, in particular, push me beyond myself and help to move me forward (to refuse to be stagnant/stuck or even worse-- look backwards) during, this, my renaissance of creativity. 

The first is Anthem...
"Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. 
There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."
There is no perfect offering

Now, Cohen is Jewish, but so was Jesus. This song, I feel it so spiritually. We are flawed and cracked beyond our own ability to repair. But the Light of the World pours in through those cracks and makes us whole and useful.
Whatever it is that you have to offer, it will never be perfect.
 But please, make your offering.
Lay it at the feet of the Lord
and be at peace.

More on the second song soon...