The great Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright. He was quoted as saying "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." I like that. One day last week, before I sat down to write this blog or even knew what the topic would be, I found a small framed picture of that exact quote. Funny how life intersects like that. But think about it... the words are so simple and yet so profound. Find what you love doing and then give/share it with others. John Keating, Robin Williams's character in Dead Poets Society, says that the sciences are noble pursuits and necessary to keep the human race alive, but the arts are the reason we stay alive. Poetry, storytelling, artistry are all expressions of something deep inside of us. Art is all those emotions mixed up together. It can be beautiful, sad, or furious. It can make us laugh or cry. It can inspire us to change our lives and the world in which we live. Poetry helps us communicate feelings on a deeper level than simply naming them does. Art speaks to us in a language all its own, a language that is universally understood. Whether poetry, a painting, or a good story, art makes us feel alive!
The book of Psalm is an entire book of poetry, songs and prayers, many of which were written by King David. King David was the most prolific writer of songs found in the Bible and wrote roughly 75 in this Biblical section. Other writers include Moses, Solomon, Asaph and the sons or Korah and others. Several of the Psalms come with no credit for the writer.
The Psalms are full of emotion: coping with fear and loss, searching for God while feeling abandoned and offering praises in joyful song. As you read the book of Psalms, you will hear believers crying out to God from the depths of despair and you will hear them singing to Him at the heights of celebration. Many of the passages in Psalms were frequently quoted by Jesus himself. Psalm 22 is one such example. David gave an amazingly accurate description of the suffering Jesus would endure hundred of years later.
Poetry is a beautiful way to express ourselves and to connect with others and God. When we create a poem, we voice our emotions and thoughts in a way that other people can relate to. That is the great thing about poetry. There are no right or wrong answers; a poem is all about you and how you connect to it.
So here's your challenge this week...
When you feel yourself overcome with emotion (or sense your child is feeling this way) sit down, open the Bible to Psalms and make the psalmists' words your own. God intended for us to make the Psalms our own and to find comfort in the psalmist's resolve to trust God no matter what. Begin by writing a poem/prayer using your favorite scripture passage as a guide and express your faith in the poem/prayer. It doesn't have to rhyme or be lengthy, just give it a try! You may be surprised to see what you learn about yourself, others, and God!