When I read classic secular literary fiction, I’m just as awed as anyone by the brilliant prose, the twist of sentences that paint such a realistic picture of life. What I’m not awed by often is the ending. It’s brilliant. And utterly hopeless. Something like, “Blow out your candle, sweet sister. There’s nothing left for you.” It took some years of eye rolling at art that’s so deep with emotions supposedly conveyed before I finally understood. When looked at it from the right angle, whether it’s prose, painting, or a very unique sculpture, their depressing work is stunning in the message it conveys. They may be showing such ugly truth in human nature, the average person overlooks it. Who wants to see the ugliness in themselves and the world? But it’s truth.
But it’s also hopeless. That’s why as these artist pursue their mission of showing people how wretched they are, how there’s nothing to live for in this life and we should all give it up, the artist themselves spiral deeper into the pit of despair they project everyone to be in. In their mind, it’s not them who are off base. It’s the observers. The observers are the pretenders, the ones who want to skip along through life as if there’s actual meaning and beauty to it.
I’m not speaking about artists in general (hey, I’m an literary artist). This is about the ones that you walk away from their work feeling dirty and depressed. You’ve seen something of yourself in their work, something you didn’t think anyone would ever see. And that’s what the artist wanted. They dug under your skin and exposed the raw truth of your human nature.
But there is hope!
My way of shouting this from the rooftops is the same as those who shout the opposite message. Through art. My tool is words, spoken and written. My message? When all pretentions of “living a good life” are stripped away, the only hope comes through Jesus Christ. Because without Him, I’d be one of those artists trying to convince the world there really wasn’t anything to this life. It would take some years, but I could see myself finally abandoning the mission to drugs, alcohol, and despair. So has been the fate of many brilliant artists. (Not saying I’m brilliant, of course)
Hope is a basic survival requirement. Humans can live an average of three months without hope.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)
Where does your hope lie? Please share it with me in the comments.