Because I have read about Edith and Francis Schaeffer’s son, Franky Schaeffer, and because I am old enough to know that there are no perfect Christian families, I can’t read Mrs. Schaeffer’s words in this book without thinking about the imperfections and cracks in her family—and in mine. As I write this post, I am listening to the sounds of a violent, not-very-beautiful video game that my teen son is playing in the living room with a friend. I can be unhappy about the disruption this game causes in my ideal “beautiful home environment”, or I can be thankful that my son is at home playing a game with a friend, that we have an opportunity to show hospitality to his friend, that my daughter was able to perform in a play this afternoon, that my other daughter was able to go to a ballet class, that those of us who are here will have a meal together, that my home is filled with books and art and music and laughter.
Of course, those things I list that I am thankful for also have elements that work against them, things that I am not always thankful for. I have to drive a lot, something which is abhorrent to my senses, to get the girls to their drama and dance classes and performances. We’re not all here as a family to share the meal this evening. In addition to the books and other good things that fill my home, I also have lots of junk and counter-artistic piles of stuff. Sometimes the yelling and the coarse joking (and the video games) drown out the music and the laughter.
“A Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively.”
“Without sin, man would have been perfectly creative, and we can only imagine what he would have produced without its hindrance. With sin, all of God’s creation has been spoiled to some degree, so that what we see is not in its perfect state.”
The perfect is the enemy of the good. If I wait until I can make a perfect home or even a perfect meal, there will be no one left in my home to enjoy it. Children and teens make messes and don’t cooperate with my “perfect” plans. Sometimes, even I don’t cooperate with my own plans for beauty and order and hidden art.
Nevertheless, as another wise Christian woman, reminded us, “Do the next thing.” And as Mrs. Schaeffer so aptly says, “‘If only . . .’ feelings can distort our personalities, and give us an obsession which can only lead to more and more dissatisfaction.”
Hidden Art preaches a lifestyle of doing small things to create an environment of artistry and creativity, no matter how imperfect and incomplete it is.