Monday, April 14, 2008

Uncertainty is an Asset

I’m enjoying reading a little book entitled Art and Fear, Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking. One of the authors tells of an interchange he had with his piano teacher where in frustration he said, “But I can hear the music so much better in my head than what comes out of my fingers.” The instructor replied, “What makes you think that ever changes?” The teacher raised an expression of self-doubt to a simple observation of reality and as he did uncertainty became an asset.

And you say, “I had the idea of this job looking so much better in my mind than it is actually turning out.” Or “My vision of this marriage was so much more fulfilling than it is revealing itself to be.” Or “I see the spiritual victories more clearly and victoriously happening in my mind’s eye than what is actually happening.” Or any number of things along those lines. Yet, if it works out exactly each time just as you’ve guessed that it will there would be no uncertainty.

And there would be no reason for faith.

Uncertainty is your asset. The knowledge that this whole thing (i.e. job, marriage, dream, vision, hope, etc…) could fall a part if you’re not careful is what keeps you praying, hoping, and persevering. Virginia Stem Owens says, “To spy out the reality hidden in appearances takes perseverance.” The appearance is that the distance between your vision and the actual execution is too great. The reality is this tension keeps you focused.

Unless you quit.


Lori G. said...

Heya. I love Art&Fear and read it at least once a year. I'm getting ready to start reading "Surviving as an Artist in the Church"...that should be interesting.

I heard another quote recently that said "Pain is just weakness leaving the body." I'm not sure that's profound but I like it.

Jonathan Foster said...

now that you mention it i think i remember you talking about this book before. interesting.

if you like something i think that makes it profound. and in this case i like the quote too.


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