RON MCCLELLAND Spiritual Formation & The Arts



All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster's autobiography." ~ Federico Fellini

Have you ever gotten dust, or even worse, a grain of sand in your eye? We all know how irritating, even painful that can be. But an oyster does something unique. A pearl is fashioned inside of an oyster's shell when an irritant or some foreign object like a grain of sand, finds its way inside of the oyster between its shell and protective layer. In an effort to protect itself, the oyster quickly begins covering the unwelcome irritant (the hurt?), with layer upon layer of the same substance that created its shell, until after many years -some types of pearls 1-6 years, others 5-20 - a beautiful pearl has been formed.

Life can be this way. Our personal stories contain many plot lines, obstacles, and interesting characters, and nagging irritating intrusions that make up the narrative of our lives. It is possible to create something beautiful out these "grains of sand", but too often, whether through trauma or simply the mundane sameness and the irritating drudgery of our everyday lives, we also form layers and layers of protective coverings, and we lose touch with our genuine selves, our creativity, and sense of purpose. Nevertheless, we can always begin again to create something beautiful of our lives. Even after many years, there are still gems to be found.

All art is autobiographical, and creativity is integral to our spiritual formation as people created in the image of God...

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