Friday, July 8, 2011

"The Way of Beauty" & "The Rhythm of Life"

David Clayton, St. Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
It is such a joy for me when I discover a fellow "artist" (I would say musicians also fall under that description) who has been called to serve God through beauty, has answered that call, and has risen above the challenges such a life can encounter. I recently found such a person in David Clayton, iconographer and the Artist-in-Residence and Lecturer in Liberal Arts at St. Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. Clayton's story is intriguing in that he was not originally pursuing a career as an artist. One day a friend asked him if he was happy in his work, to which he replied that he was not, or at least that he could be happier. The friend advised him to instead pursue something that he enjoyed, something to which - if he had so much money he would never have to work again -he would be happy devoting forty hours a week. You see, God wants us to be happy in our work, so long as said work is not inherently bad. He wants you to do something that you love and enjoy, that you are passionate about. Clayton realized this as well, and with his friend's guidance was able to pursue his dream to be an artist. He took risks, but not foolish ones, focusing on one step at a time. He always kept his dream at the forefront. You can read the full story here.
Matthew Kelly,
Author of The Rhythm of Life
Clayton's story and message to people in similar situations, who want to pursue a life as an artists or really any dream, is similar to the message of a book I read during my Christmas break of 2009-2010, The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly.  I received this book as a gift for my high school graduation - the couple that gave it to me gives it to the high school graduates they know as an experiment to see how many of the graduates actually read it! Well, I was one of the graduates that read it - though I'll admit it took me until sophomore year of college to pick it up. But don't let that discourage you from reading it. This book changed my life! Matthew Kelly gives advice similar to that of Clayton's friend - God wants you to be happy and wants you to pursue your dream, to be who God created you to be and to do what you love to do, to thrive on what you do instead of making do with a less-than satisfactory career choice. Kelly's book gives logical steps on how to live this out through a balanced life style, caring for yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually, and intellectually. I learned how to focus on my goals, to prioritize, to pursue what I love, and to be happy and thrive vs. survive. I learned to live my dream: to serve God and people through the art of music.
A word of caution : dreams and goals don't just come to you, they must be pursued. You can wait around all you want and hope that something happens to you so that your dream is realized, but it's not that easy. Dreams and goals take sacrifice and hard work. You will be met with tough choices. The good news is that if it is something you love, then these sacrifices are worth it. And if you keep your ultimate goal at the forefront, you will be able to make your decisions accordingly. The sacrifices make the dream all the more worth it in the end - not to be cliche, but "It's not the destination it's the journey." ;-)
Bl. John Paul II, Pray for us!
The Rhythm of Life teaches you how to live a good, full life. In his Letter to Artists, Bl. John Paul II gives two definitions of artists: there are artists like Clayton who create beautiful things, but the pope also says that every person is called to be an artist in that we are all called to live a life of beauty - we are all called to become saints, to live a beautiful life for God. In short, we are all called to be artists! And Kelly shows you how to do it by helping you become what he terms "The best version of yourself." I am glad to have found someone pursuing the life of an artist in both senses of the word in David Clayton.

Check out David Clayton's website here:    http://thewayofbeauty.org.

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