Why do we strive for beauty or perfection in the artifacts of our lives? Sarah Torbeck thinks she’s found the answer.
I have a lot of hobbies. In fact, it has been said I have too many hobbies. And it’s true, I do. I struggle to give them all the attention they so richly deserve. My husband (God rest his soul) used to rolls his eyes with that characteristic attitude of his, which meant that he was wondering where we were going to find room for all my hobbies. I knew he was right. I didn’t have the time to devote myself exclusively to one thing or another.
But my intentions were honorable. I always intended to find that precious morsel of time when I would be able to pursue my projects with intensity and technique. The reality was probably (definitely) quite different, but I didn’t mind. I always had the completed project in mind, and it was that continual visualization, that provided me with a never-ending supply of plotting and planning. In short: I loved (and still love) the creative process.
When I finally did complete a project, (which actually did occur) I was ridiculously proud of my accomplishment. I would bounce into the garage, and insistently tug on my stoic, even-tempered husband. “Come see!” I would cry. And of course, he would obediently follow me into the kitchen—or wherever—as he tried to muster some enthusiasm. (I mentioned his stoic nature, right?)
Most of the time he knew what the project was; but sometimes he did not. His confusion would draw looks of dismay and consternation from me, as we stood before my latest contrivance. “What is this supposed to be, Sarah?” He would ask, as he struggled to comprehend the image before him.
“It’s a birdbath!” I might exclaim, or a picture frame or whatever the hobby du jour was; then I would hasten to explain all the platforms, details, and embellishments on and around my lovely creation.
My long-suffering husband would stand there in the light of the waning afternoon, nodding and smiling as he tried to absorb some of my enthusiasm. He would finally bestow his opinion that was almost always positive. I would listen and nod, as I stood proudly beside my beautiful creation(s). Then, when he felt he had stood there long enough, he would cast a longing glance toward the garage, and declare that he needed to mow the lawn.
And I would let him go. But my enthusiasm did not dim, as I moved onto the next groups of would-be admirers (read, family and friends), looking for approval before finally posting pictures of the projects on social media.
Of course, in my heart, I always understood that no one really loved my re-purposed, depression-glass birdbaths, or my mosaic picture frames the way I did. But that made little difference. How could they truly understand? They didn’t conceive the form, colors or design. They didn’t map out a simple blueprint, or gather all the necessary materials in preparation for the production and ultimate completion of the project. They didn’t suffer through the tiny details, or draw blood from a glittering shard of glass.
Only I—did that; only me. It was my project; my design … my masterpiece.
What is it, in the hearts of men that drives them to create something beautiful? Why do we pursue the exquisite beauty of a rose, rendered lovingly upon a canvas? Why does a carpenter carve out a massive oak table with stylized leaves and engraved columns? What compels a composer to assimilate sound and rhythm into a sonata? What is this singular yearning that sends us on a continual quest for our own masterpiece … a masterpiece that is unique and universal at the same time?
I am convinced that everyone feels this creative tug at least once in his (or her) lifetime. And I further believe that the need to create and express ourselves was placed into our hearts by the Creator Himself … because it is a piece of Him. It is who He is.
The Psalmist tells us:
You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! (Psalm 139:12-14)
God is our Creator, and He gave us this yearning because He wanted us to understand His desire … to create us. He wanted to share this longing to create, because it provides us with a tiny glimpse into His unfathomable love for us. We are … each and every one of us … His masterpieces. We were planned and brought into being as individual masterpieces from the Mind of our omniscient Creator.
I am His masterpiece. You are His masterpiece.
Of course, God didn’t have to drag a stoic husband from the garage to admire His handiwork, but He is still faithfully waiting for His loved ones to give Him praise and honor for the great and wonderful things He has done—and continues to do.
Now go out there and construct that birdbath … or whatever your heart(s) desire, and always remember to give glory to our Creator … who strategically premeditated each one of us … His beloved masterpieces.
Copyright 2022 Sarah Torbeck
About the Author
Sarah Torbeck is a mother, a grandmother, and a widow. She spent her early-adult years immersed in the esoteric religions. Through the Rosary and a miraculous intervention by the Blessed Virgin Mary, she was led into the Catholic Church. She was home! Sarah was a writing teacher, and currently writes about her faith and love for God—for He is merciful, even to His tiniest sparrow.