Art and Literature

Resuscitated by Art

Does music ever make you see? Does it break your heart or spill hot tears over your lashes? Does music become your voice when you cannot find the words to express your grief, sorrow, or hope?

Music paints vistas on the mind—sunsets over mountains, starlight over tawny grasses bent by the breeze, snow on trees, russet leaves kicking up in the dirt lane. Certain songs carry a mood with them—autumn fog and rain, driving under sunny skies, poignant sadness, golden morning light. Music breathes life into weary souls, stands us on our feet, bows our heads—it even gives us earthbound creatures wings. Music heals. Music speaks what we cannot, when we cannot. Music opens the storeroom of our memories. Music flies us beyond ourselves into the great, wide world and the space beyond.

When I see a musician who is intent at his craft, playing for pure pleasure, joy wells up in me—and a bit of envy. I wish I could make a heart soar. . . or sing. . .or see. Though I cannot express myself in music, I know the intense concentration, the pleasure in my craft. It happens when I write sometimes. At other times, writing is an exercise and discipline, like musical scales.

Every craft has its learning season, disciplines, and the ability to sweep the craftsman or artist into its heart and flow so deeply that time passes without notice. But what I have noticed is that various crafts and arts influence one another. Music and stories often inspire me to paint, draw, or write. The visual arts encourage poetry or music to flow out of me. Poetry makes me want to be alive, to attend.

I have a deep respect for my friends who are writers, musicians, woodworkers, leather artisans, weavers, gardeners, and embroiderers. Their words and music and crafts all breathe life into my heart, into my veins. They remind me that Beauty comes in many forms and fills life with pleasure. The time poured into a craft is a form of tangible love given to others.

I treasure my pincushion made from cloth designed and woven by one sweet friend, a wooden box carefully fitted and joined by another, words crafted into letters, stories, and poems by many dear folks, and pen-and-ink drawings of dragons and pictograms by yet another friend. I carry in my heart the deep strains of the cello, the lilting violin, the steady piano, the magical guitar picking I have been privy to over the years. And I delight in my friend’s whimsical illustrations and story of an island of creatures that must be saved again and again by one very patient saviour, who constantly goes unthanked.

My friends are a talented set, whether through the arts mentioned above, or the art of homemaking, hospitality, and keeping beauty in their homes and hearts. The creativity of God overflows in so many directions from people, it is rather amazing. And it breathes—breathes life into others in some way or another. Creativity is constantly begetting, expanding in life and beauty. Creativity brings wholeness and healing into a world shattered by the Fall. Artisans and craftsmen are healers, then. Agents of God to breathe beauty and life into others.


Johanna Byrkett

Johanna Byrkett

Johanna (Jody) Byrkett enjoys hiking various types of terrain, foggy mornings and steaming mugs of tea, reading classic literature and theological essays, studying words and their origins, and practising the art of hospitality. (She also has the singularly annoying habit of spelling things 'Britishly'.)

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