Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Curate Yourself

Today on my Twitter feed, I saw the following tweet pop up:

@Etsy - RT @kanyewest - Curate your life.

This struck a chord in my thinking parts for some strange reason. Curate my life? What does that even mean? Like... life as museum?

Knowing that Kanye West is a relatively educated guy (I think I saw somewhere once that his mom or dad is a Harvard professor, so clearly even if HE isn’t educated he’s been exposed to some high-level intellect), I went ahead and looked up the definition of the word “Curate”. I thought that maybe this would help to shed a bit of light on these three words of advice thrown out over the Internet. Dictionary.com offered this as a definition:


1. Chiefly British . a member of the clergy employed to assist a rector or vicar.
2. any ecclesiastic entrusted with the cure of souls, as a parish priest.
–verb (used with object)
3. to serve as curator for: to curate an art exhibition.

This of course made me go ahead and look up the word “curator”:

1. the person in charge of a museum, art collection, etc.
2. a manager; superintendent.
3. Law . a guardian of a minor, lunatic, or other incompetent, esp. with regard to his or her property.

At this point my brain started to ponder this a bit more. I can either view my life as a museum and think of how to decorate it with various “pieces of art”, or I can view my life as absolutely crazy with a life of its own that I need to be a guardian of. Or maybe it’s both. This of made me think of Edward Munch’s “The Scream”; a beautiful piece of art that reminds me a bit of someone in a moment of lunacy. Since a curator would take care of either the art or the lunatic - I felt that this image was pretty appropriate. 
At this point in my train of thought I've landed at the point of decision: Is the metaphor saying that life is a museum or that life is absolutely crazy and needs a guardian?

If life is a museum, then each moment, memory, and experience would be a masterpiece of some sort. I picture mine as a gallery mixed with Monet (“Lilypads” to capture those serene moments), Renoir (that famous one with the dancing couple and the lady is wearing a red hat for those fun moments of dancing & love), Munch (the previously mentioned “The Scream” for those moments when screaming is necessary), and a little bit of Picasso (for those times when life is completely random). Of course there's a photo-journalist gallery in my little life museum, displaying all of those super memorable times in my life in chronological order.

But then there are those Sistine Chapel moments. The grand ones where God moves and works and creates amazingly famous works of art and beautiful things happen in my little museum. So really... should I be curating my own museum if God is going to be the one to display and create the most beautiful masterpieces at the most appropriate times?

On the other hand, if by curating my life one is inferring that life is crazy and full of lunacy - thereby needing a curator in the third definition - then I definitely do not want to be the one curating my life. Clearly on my own I'm bound to land in a straight jacket; when I'm most stressed or self-focused or frazzled is when I make the most irrational decisions. Me as sole curator in "Life of Danielle" = not the best idea.

Here’s where I landed.

I don’t want to be the sole museum curator to my life. I’ve tried that. I am able to make some of the most wonderfully awful crayon drawings you’ve ever seen when left to my own "artistic" abilities, so to speak. Sure, I can orchestrate some amazing Monet-esque paintings to hang in my life gallery... but on average my life-art is mediocre at best. However - when under the apprenticeship of a Master, I can have those Sistine Chapel moments. 

So wouldn't I want to let someone else - a Master - be the primary curator?

And in terms of the crazy side of things - I would much rather let someone else be my guardian. I would much rather let someone else show me the right path and learn to be in tune with their direction.

No matter which definition you choose, I look to God as my curator. Sure, He leaves a lot of decisions in my hands and so as a result some of my galleries are going to have some paintings that resemble the works of Jackson Polluck... but in the end, my museum will be beautiful. I'll be less crazy. And really - in the end I will have left myself open to His will, His design, and His intent for my life.
Who will be the curator of your life? 

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. - Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

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