“Throw out the Artist”

This story I’m about to tell is around a year or two old. You see, my family was off on summer vacation, and I decided that it would be the perfect time to write a short story. The story was about a crew of space pirates, and it was honestly a lot of fun to write. It exceeded the short story page limit, getting up to twenty-something pages. The page limit, however, is not the important part of this story.

I had a large crew of unique and colorful space pirates. I figured it wouldn’t be a realistic story unless at least one of them was killed off, but I really liked all of them. What to do? Well, this is where the small army of siblings come in. I assigned each crew member to a common occupation, and then asked my brothers and sisters this question:

 “There is a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, an artist, and a pilot in a room. You have to throw one of them out of the room. Who do you throw out?”

A fairly simple question. I asked siblings whose ages ranged from early twenties, to the age of two. What happened next frustrated me to no end.

Each sibling I asked (if they cared to answer and were not distracted by the macaroni and cheese on their plate) had the same answer: “Throw out the artist.”

“Why?” I responded. “Why throw out the artist?”

“Well,” they would say. “If we need something fixed, then we could use the engineer. And if someone gets hurt, then we would need the doctor…”

“But nothing is broken, and no one is hurt,” I said. “Are you sure you want to throw him out?”

“I don’t know why, I would just throw out the artist. He just seems like the least useful person.”

art.jpg

You may not know this, but before I realized I was fascinated with the English language, I wanted to be an artist. A concept artist, actually. That’s all done on the computers now, so the switch to writing wasn’t that hard to make. It’s hard as a kid to grow up and watch your dream jobs drop like flies and fade out of existence, but it’s also rough to see your siblings boot them out of a hypothetical room for an unknown reason.

I realize that drawing a picture may not be as important as a doctor, who can save lives, or an engineer, who I’ve heard can build a lot of bridges (that was a joke; I know they do a lot more than that, seriously). But actually, they may just be as important.

I don’t need to tell you that professional artists create beauty, as any kind of engineer does. They can also contribute to many different kinds of therapies, which certainly can save lives. Certainly keep that in mind, but that’s not where it stops.

I still draw. Many people told me I would starve to death (which is a great thing to tell a nine year old boy) if I continued to pursue art. Computers and programming is where the future lies, after all! No one gets paid from the pencil and paper anymore.

Let me tell you what I did instead of art, though. I went into writing. English! I love it! I have, actually, gotten more concerned faces from the study of English than art, however. Imagine that. There’s an English major in the room? Well, never mind. Keep the artist, but get rid of that useless waste of space! (I exaggerate, but only kind of). Family members tried to talk me out of it, and church members gave me concerned second glances. Now, I had already given up on one passion. Writing was not going to die like art did. Not a chance.

artist2.jpg

That’s not even where it stops, though. Let me tell you about the minor I just added. That’s right. This writing major added a minor, which, theoretically, should help me get a job one day. What job relevant minor did I choose? Well, I decided to minor in Philosophy.

Now, I can see you face-palming, but hear me out.

Forget about English majors, because this world is the one that is starving. We’ve all artist3.jpgjumped on the science band wagon and think that it will take us all the way up to heaven. I’m sorry to say that we’ve got some pretty ugly times ahead if we keep thinking that. I’m not throwing science under the bus. It is needed, but it is not the exclusive need that we require. I’m a thinker. I talked about that last time. I can’t shake the feeling that I need to do something else other than the American drive. Will I get a job? Contrary to popular belief, there is a decent market for writing related jobs. I’ll be fine, but that’s not the point. My focus now is to learn, and build myself towards Christ. How should I do that? Well, I need to understand. That’s what Philosophy is. A drive to understand the hard questions. You will stress over getting a job, engineer to artist. One is statistically more profitable, absolutely. But if our artists disappear, what does that make us as a culture?

Here’s the big point. Follow the direction that God is pulling your heart towards. I know people who want to pursue music, teaching, construction, self-defense, being a pastor, and just about everything else and in-between. Their talents are beautiful, and needed. Essential, in fact. If America is to build itself back towards Christianity, then we need bold men and women who are willing to sacrifice a fancy car to show the nation how God wants these things to be done. That includes writing. That includes thinking. Yeah, I stress. I worry. But for some reason, I haven’t budged yet (and not for lack of trying).

God doesn’t say, “go forth and get rich, and don’t forget about that nice car.” Quite the contrary. That is not to say that God will not bless us with nice things, or plentiful riches. Some have that blessing, but it is not to be our main drive or goal. Whatever you are pursuing, check yourself. If it does not line up with furthering the Kingdom of God, and only in line with your own personal gain, give it some thought. This applies to the arts as well. You can go into writing for entirely selfish reasons. I’ve seen people go into the major because they think its easy (ha, that’s rich in of itself). Check yourself, and store treasures up in heaven. If you do that, then maybe we can keep a few of the next generation’s dream jobs from fading away for just a little while longer.

 

Matthew 6:31-32

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

Philippians 4:19-20

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

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