There is a small painting on my refrigerator door. It’s a copy of the famous work by Jan Vermeer called Girl with a Pearl Earring. The original oil on canvas resides in The Hauge, Netherlands. My small painting is a copy of a copy, magnetized and worth less than ten dollars at the local bookstore. Still, I adore the picture of a young girl, with her blue headdress, gold jacket and tear-shaped pearl earring.
One day, after paying the bills and getting the kids their lunch, I wondered what it would be like to have a houseful of original artwork. I imagined the Girl with a Pearl Earring hanging above the sofa in the living room. I envisioned an original dancer by Degas in my daughter’s room and a sketch of a flying machine by Michelangelo in my son’s bedroom. I would love one of Caravaggio’s paintings, perhaps the Calling of Matthew, with its emphasis on the compelling look of Christ. In the painting Christ reaches out an arched finger to Matthew, the tax collector who is sitting at a table, hunched over the piles of coin he is busy counting. It is as if Christ’s call to come follow him extends past our immediate concerns, offering eternal reward in their place.
I began to daydream... A bungalow full of priceless paintings would attract a lot of visitors. We would have to install security systems, regulate visiting hours and install carpets. A whole cottage industry would follow.
The daydream didn’t last long. I made my sandwich and closed the fridge door, only glancing at the Girl with a Pearl Earring. But the glittering thought made an impression. After all, isn’t a humble home transformed into a world-class art gallery a lot like an ordinary life made brilliant by the life of Christ within?
Isn’t faith that is real and alive better than art that is flat and inanimate? Doesn’t God take the basic stuff of our lives, our circumstances and dreams and turn them into something precious and holy in his sight? Isn’t God the master artist?
The difference is that works of this world need to be guarded, insured and cared for, while the incredible life of Christ within us is meant to be shared and enjoyed by all. It is meant to be contemplated not only by the critic, or the serious student, but by everyone. The life of Christ is an invitation to come, taste and see the difference that God can make in anyone’s life. To see God’s work in us on display, right where we live.
As writers, we have the insights of an artist—but as faith-filled artists, we also get to enjoy the joys of knowing beauty lived from the inside out.
Dayna Mazzuxa works (and lives) as a writer, poet, creative workshop leader, and homeschooling mom of two on beautiful Vancouver Island. Her topics tend to focus on the value of spiritual disciplines in everyday life. From parenting to writing, from work to relationships, from money to leadership, faith matters.
Ms Mazzuca has studied theology and taught writing and literature at the college level. She holds an honours degree in political philosophy and a diploma in Journalism Arts. She is a former award-winning community journalist, and co-author of a book series on spiritual formation.
Dayna's writing has appeared in magazines, newspapers, high-profile websites, educational packages, literary journals and on-air. And she blogs, sometimes willingly, at daynawrites.blogspot.ca