Of Chaos and Paint Splatters

I’m not a very artistic person. Even my stick figures are pretty pathetic. I’ve always had huge admiration for anyone who could sit down and create a piece of art – bringing something out from nothing. I can appreciate all kinds of sculpture, drawing and painting even though I can’t create it on my own.

And then there’s Jackson Pollack. I’m not sure I get his stuff. Pollack was an influential abstract impressionist artist in the first part of the 20th Century who focused on drip painting. You may remember the movie about his life starring Ed Harris. If you’re not familiar with Pollack, here’s an example of his work:

All I can think when I look at Pollock’s work is, “Now, I could do THAT.” His work is basically a bunch of paint tossed on a canvas. No order. No rules. Simply CHAOS.

And yet something about his art speaks to me. In many ways it represents my life. Perhaps it resembles yours as well. We’ve all had those kind of days. They begin with good intentions and plans. But then the invaders come —

a phone call

a text

an unexpected meeting

an urgent email

your Twitter timeline

that blog you’ve been meaning to read

a notification that your friend just played on your Words With Friends game

that show that’s been sitting on your DVR for 2 weeks

and on…and on…and on

All of these things are good and bring entertainment. They can add value and enjoyment to your life. But by the time you lay down at night, your day resembles a Jackson Pollock painting — so much good randomly thrown against a canvas in hopes of making something beautiful. Chaotic. No order. No margin. No meaning.

Without order, I can’t really make heads or tails of Pollock’s paintings. And without any order, sometimes I cannot make sense of my day, either. Did all of my effort & action lead to anything meaningful today? Did it point to something more significant than myself? My life cries out for structure – for some type of margin to that helps me understand and put everything in the proper context.

This is what we mean when we speak about sacred margins. The problem with our lives is not a lack of meaningful things to fill them. We are busy creating, consuming and producing so much good. But we are exhausted and scattered. We need time to stop and examine what we have created. We need time to look back and remember why we’ve even done those things in the first place.

We need space. Time. Margin that will turn our random, chaotic paint splatters into a picture that will help us see God in every portion of our day.

Are you able to see God in the day-to-day activities of your life? What helps you make sense of your busy, chaotic day?

2 thoughts on “Of Chaos and Paint Splatters

  1. I get this. SO many times my day can be like looking at this Pollock painting. I have the question, “do i look at the paint or the white spaces?” I wonder where is the picture, the art, the focus intended to be shown. Thank to you and Trevor and Chris for living transparent lives. A dangerous task, but you are all brave and worthy warriors.

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