Last weekend we visited the Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Oklahoma City Art Museum. Huge, colorful, undulating expanses of glass mesmerized us and we wondered how one man could produce so much art on such an impressive scale.
As we left the exhibition, we stopped to watch a documentary on Dale Chihuly and his process. The Chihuly studio resembles a warehouse. Dozens of artists follow instructions given by Chihuly and mimic the patterns and colors he produces in huge paintings as they transfer his concepts to glass. Dale Chihuly is the visionary, the master artist. His grand designs are carried out by the artists who literally breathe life into the glass.
Watching the process unfold I saw the art-form as a metaphor for parenting. I recognize God as the Master Artist, the Visionary. Together with my husband, I hope that I served as the artisan who worked directly with the medium to help shape my children into the more completed works they have become.
Just as different materials, oxides and metals alter the hues and look of the finished piece, the make-up and experiences of the individual offspring alter the people they become.
My own parents were hard-working people. Neither of them were highly educated in a formal sense, though both of them were insatiable readers. My mother often said to me that she believed their calling was to raise children who would grow up to be adults who affected positive change in the world. They too were the artisans scurrying around the studio in an attempt to shape molten raw materials into things of beauty.
Possessing this understanding of my parents' wish for me as I grew to adulthood, it would be natural to assume that my career would be of great importance to me. Yet, while it is true that I love my work and believe it is vital to the well being of my community, it does not hold the greatest significance in my life.
Like my mother before me, I have found my calling in the raising of the three lives entrusted to me. There are other accomplishments which make me proud, but there is not one thing in my life that has brought me the joy and pride that my family has.
I thank the Great Visionary that I was given the opportunity to be the artist's assistant as He formed three beautiful lives.
I thank Him for the beauty of these lives and the light that shines through them bringing brightness and warmth into the world.
The Kabbalah suggests that long ago the Holy was shattered into many sparks which were distributed across the universe. These holy sparks became a part of everyone and everything. They help to define a relationship between what is holy and what is everyday and are readily accessible to us if only we will see.
Raising young people who are a blessing to the world is the most holy exercise I have ever experienced personally.
Surrounded by light, reflection and color I was reminded how beautiful the result can be when guided by the Master Artist.