• Melanie Enfield

Our "Creator God"

Some days we all need a change of pace. After getting tired of the heat and humidity, the thunderstorms, and the rain, Jon and I decided to head into Hartford and visit the Wadsworth Atheneum. I like going to art museums but I have to be honest and say I

don’t go very often, and I my understanding and knowledge of art is at the low end of the spectrum. Yet something about being surrounded by beautiful things inspires me and nurtures my faith. As I gaze upon the art and wander through the halls looking at various paintings and artwork, the experience stretches my mind, enlightens my imagination and inspires creativity. Somehow this wandering connects me to our “Creator God” and then I am nudged to consider my part in co-creating in this community. I believe we all have something of value to share for the betterment of

our world. Yet at times I fear that we are not using our imaginations to our full capacity. Perhaps we don’t wander enough to allow the Spirit to enliven us? At the Wadsworth, they have a special exhibit on Frederick Church who was a leading American painter of 19th-century and of the Hudson River School. I like his work and enjoyed getting to know it better. The exhibit explores Church’s journey to the “other side of the world” not only to paint historical and biblical sites, but also to discover his faith and broaden

his worldview. I loved this idea that he had a deep desire to explore the world and to explore his faith and then to share his experiences and his perceptions with the world around him. Church has a great quote that says, “In all of Europe I have seen nothing equal the Syrian landscapes…Syria with its barren mountains and parched valleys possesses the magic key which unlocks our innermost heart.” It made me wonder, what unlocks our hearts? Where is the place or the experience that taps into the inner recesses of our heart? What connects us to ourselves, to the world around us

and to our Creator?

Art exposes us to a bigger picture of our world. We see images of the past that help to

connect us to the present. I loved looking at old images of the Connecticut River, and of Beacon Street in Boston, and the Charter Oak tree. These images help us realize how our world is always changing. Art encourages us to see beauty and love; it gives us a sense of peace and comfort. Often the images resonate deeply within us yet it is difficult to say exactly why. Throughout the museum, some of the art articulated pain and suffering, certain pieces expressed deep grief yet they also communicated hope and optimism. Some of the paintings made me smile, they were whimsical and fun. I loved John Sargent’s painting of Ruth Sears Bacon when she was a little girl. According to family tradition, just before the final sitting, Ruth changes into black stockings and brown boots to take a walk in the rain. Sargent, who thought she looked charming, painted out her earlier lighter clothes, substituting the theoretically “incorrect” attire for such a portrait. The rebel in me appreciated this.

I am thankful for my afternoon at the art museum. I am grateful for the opportunity to nurture my creativity and my faith. As people share their gifts of struggle and triumph through images we are all enriched. My prayer is that we will all take the time to discover what unlocks the innermost recesses of our hearts, so we can share our gifts and our imaginations to make this world a better place.

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