Anthony Williams won this week’s (Season 7, Episode 5) challenge on Lifetime’s “Project Runway.” I noticed something in the judging segment that fascinated me, something in Anthony’s face. (You can see that segment here: Anthony Williams | myLifetime.com.) You can see it in the faces of the athletes in this commercial for the 2010 Winter Olympics too.
Sure, there’s “the thrill of victory,” but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s in Anthony’s face before they tell him he has won. It’s in the faces of the athletes before they’re awarded their medals. It’s the satisfaction of having done your best work and reveling in the beauty of it, finding joy in it. That is a thing of beauty unto itself.
More often than not, that experience escapes me. Instead of being satisfied with the work I’ve done, I manage to find all the things that went wrong. Instead of finding joy in it, I find reasons to be disappointed. Maybe it’s the product of my culture. Maybe it’s a character flaw. Maybe it’s a personality trait. Whatever the origin, I’m tired of it.
The creation narrative in Genesis 1 includes an affirmation of the goodness of the creative work. Of the light; of earth, sea, and sky; of the sun, stars, and moon; of creatures in the water and the air; of animals on the land; of humanity; of all that was made, God said “it is very good.” It’s as if appreciating the product of creativity, basking in it, is part of the act of creating.
Part of being created in the image of God includes being endowed with creative energy. But what if it also includes being endowed with the ability to appreciate our own creativity, to bask in the beauty of our own art? I wonder if that capacity to be satisfied with our own work, not in the “smug satisfaction” way but in the joyfully grateful way, isn’t one of the many things we’ve given up? I wonder whether it’s one of the many things available to be recovered? I think it is. And I want it back.