I’ve been thinking in recent years about what people say when someone dies. When Dr. Seuss died I heard many people say, “He gave so much to the world.” I never thought of art as giving. In a way, for me, it’s more like taking. When I write a song or write a blog post I feel like I am getting something. When you think about it however, art by its very nature involves a receiver and therefore is a giving act. When you give, you make a splash in the lake of existence. I imagine all my art as a pebble thrown into a still lake. As it ripples out I hope it touches someone and they are moved to do something artistic as well. I don’t get many comments on my blog lately but I have received thankful ones in the past saying the post really helped them in some way. There go the ripples.
It’s Christmas eve and we tried something new this year. We saw the local Cinemark was playing It’s a Wonderful Life so we took our three kids to the afternoon showing. Seeing those vintage actors playing in such an amazing film was inspiring to me. I thought about how all the actors gave so much to the world in that movie. The producer, director and everyone involved with the film gave their all. I think of the amazing acting from the actor who paid Mr. Potter and the “special effects” crew that threw soap shavings in the scenes where there was snow. The movie gives to this day while the humans involved in it are all but dead now. Jimmy Stewart indeed left so much behind for us. Sometimes I look at the way I spend my time and I think it doesn’t matter what I leave behind, because I’ll be gone. Other times I think about the next generations and what my life’s work will mean to them. Christmas, I think, is a great time to meditate on that.