A reflection on art, love, and loss

The airwaves, television stations, “Facebook” timelines and “Twitter” feeds are ablaze, saturated with shock and disbelief, tributes, reflections, mourning, sadness in the news of the death of legendary, iconic artist Whitney Houston (may she rest in peace and may her family, loved ones, friends, and fans in mourning be covered with love and grace).

I don’t know that those in reflection and mourning are so surprised, shocked that death exists, but maybe are impacted by the instant reminder that death can be sudden, can surprise any of us, can come without warning, and part without fail. I think that death reminds us we are all vulnerable. I think back to the conversations I try to have with my seven-year-old about life and death, and a moment like this (my seven-year-old has no idea who Whitney Houston is and hasn’t been exposed to the news of her death) reminds me of why he innocently rejects death’s final say, and fears death’s unpredictability. It is this conflict, this vulnerability that is the human condition.

However, in the wake of this news, a conversation with my husband last night inspired my thinking, and guided my reflection in a different direction. I awoke today not so much in shock of death (though loss of any kind still has its sting) but on the immoral presence of art. This moment reminds me of how the arts and how artists impact the very nature of our lives. The arts can bring together people of all walks of life and communicate the human experience, the human condition like nothing else. The arts are a way that we can speak to each other, understand each other, and share our human stories.

Seeing the footage, hearing the audio clips of music I grew up with in the eighties stirs up memories that remind me of how artists impact our lives, raise us with their words, works, color, and movement. I am reminded that artists tell us stories and leave us with memorable tidbits, love, loss, joy, and pain. Artists document life in ways that capture subtleties only a brush of charcoal, pen or paint, a clear lens, a harmony, a lyric, a beat, a bend, a jump, or a turn can imitate.

So after the shock of the news and sadness, I’ve decided that today I will not dwell in only the loss. Though it is tragic we lose the physical presence of some of our great artists, my hope is that we will never lose sight of what art and artists contribute to our lives, what moments and magic they create, what memories they leave us, and most of all the love, justice, and understanding that sometimes only art can convey.

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Categories: Misc.

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