What I Came Here For was not the first name Arianna Bara, Chris Burniside and I decided on for our Featured Artist Exhibit. In fact, we were pretty committed to our first title, until we found out it was too long (and also, perhaps, slightly too boring). It wasn’t until we met for the third time over cups of coffee and Arianna shared the poem A Morning Offering by John O’Donohue that it was obvious what our exhibit should be called. It comes from the last stanza of the poem and is as follows:
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
There are so many beautiful phrases in this poem, but the line “To do at last, what I came here for” resonated profoundly with all of us. I think that it probably rings a bell with everyone. Why are we here? We have been given this great gift of life. Are we wasting it? Are we doing the things we are meant to do? For Arianna, Chris and me, this exhibit of our work is tangible evidence that we are doing the things we were born to do.
When I am in the middle of working on a painting, and struggling to solve the puzzle of it, I am often filled with angst and despair. It seems as if I will never get it figured out. I have to remind myself over and over to have faith in the process. No matter how many pieces of art I create, I never feel like it comes easily. It feels just as likely that I will fail in my effort to create something beautiful, something joy-filled, than succeed. And yet, and yet, and yet…as many times as I have considered quitting, I continue to plod on. And then, all at once it seems, I successfully complete a piece of art! And then another! And another! I am doing what I came here for!
And now, if I only I could waste my heart on fear no more….
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