“The Scream” is a well known painting by Edvard Munch. Whether you think it scary, unnerving, confusing or something else, it presents an element of real life. Real emotion. Real being. Real experience.
Earlier in his life, the death of Munch’s father was followed by a period of depression and melancholy. As he came out of that period, he had his artistic manifesto:
“People will understand what is sacred in them and will take off their hats as if in church. I will paint a number of such pictures. No longer shall interiors be painted with people reading and women knitting. There shall be living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love.”(Munch At The Munch Museum, Arne Eggum)
Munch seems to have responded to life experience by sharing something deep inside himself with the world. He understood his offering as something very different from other painters. In developing as an artist, he had learned about his gifts. Now he knew more about how to focus them. He knew what he wanted to offer others. It caused him to risk being different.
Saying yes to calling is similar.
If we pay attention to life, we learn what nature and gifts God has given us. We can take that core - our basic essence - and develop as unique persons and co-creators. We can open to how the world converges with us in both exhilarating and heartbreaking ways. And we can make decisions about how we want to impact the world by honoring God’s gifts and relationship. Each of us are called in different ways, and most paths are not clear or easy.
Munch’s work and tough subjects speak to me because he goes places we often need to go - but don’t want to. He speaks to me with his clarity about what he offered the world because of his experiences, perspectives, and gifts. He was acting out of his uniqueness to honor the sacredness - deep emotion and need - of life.
How does your “yes” to calling honor the sacredness of life? Or, how does the sacred shape your calling?