In 1917, an artist in New York turned a urinal on its side and called the piece “Fountain,” beginning a subversive new art form called found art. Found art is a celebration of the cast-offs and leftovers. It’s about seeing beauty-in-the-making even though what you’re looking at might not be all that beautiful on first glance.
Found art is not high art. It’s not perfect. That’s the whole point. It’s about having the vision to see beyond “what is” long enough to imagine “what could be.”
What a valuable metaphor for our spiritual lives, especially as we survey another year gone by and we look forward to what’s to come in the New Year. Some of us are walking through tragedy. Some of us are in the midst of transition. Some are disoriented, afraid. Some are facing financial challenges. Some of us are simply feeling unsure.
Might we take a moment and ask ourselves: How is God taking the disparate elements of my life—those experiences I believe are trash, not treasure—and beginning to refashion them into something of worth? How has God salvaged the loose ends to create some strange beauty, the kind of beauty I didn’t see on first glance? How is the mess a part of my becoming? Is there any art to be found?
Sometimes the most unspeakable heartbreak can hold the most unexpected poetry. Friends reaching out to each other in love and support. Communities coming alongside the brokenhearted. Forgiveness. Relationships mended. Perspective. Meals delivered to the door. Small gestures of love and grace dapple an otherwise dark canvas with light. This is found art.
God is masterfully creative, and he will use the most unforeseen elements to wake us up, to show us we are loved, to heal us, to transform our lives. In God’s hands . . .
Darkness becomes world.
Rib becomes man.
Spit and mud become sight.
Water becomes wine.
Death becomes life.
God, give us eyes to see the beauty you are making in our lives, even if we can’t see it right now. As we begin a New Year, may we look for the found art—the fountains from urinals—you are fashioning even now. Thank you and Amen.