Art is the Language of the Soul

Next month, I’m hosting my friend, Katie Huey, to teach her class called, “Actually, There Are Words: A Writing Workshop for Life’s Disruptions.” She’s going to lead us in using wordplay, poetry, and writing prompts to “put words to our difficult experiences of loss, transition, or disruption.”

In the past week, my husband and I each lost members of our extended families. Many of my friends are also working through losses right now, large and small. Many others are in stages of transition (think: new empty nesters or leaving jobs they once loved). Other friends, though, are soaring, and I’m as happy for them as I am sad for my friends who are suffering. Life is always a series of highs and lows, and we all take our turns in each space.

Today, inside a box containing a phone case we’d ordered, we found a sticker of a llama wearing sunglasses. Why the company thought to include a sticker that had nothing to do with their product, I’m not sure, but that little piece of art that arrived in a wholly unexpected way provided a much-needed lift to my spirits.

Katie is right, there are plenty of words we can use to console those who are hurting, and plenty of words we can use to console ourselves. But on those occasions when the words are hard to find, there is always art.  Art is, after all, the language of the soul.

So, if you’re struggling to put your love into words, let an artist do the heavy lifting for you. Look for that card with the loveliest illustration and the perfect message, or that gracefully arranged bouquet, or even that funny image you can text to them. If it’s you who is hurting, put on your favorite playlist or watch your comfort movies. Remember, wherever you are now, an artist has gone there before you.

Yes, there are words, and we should never feel afraid to use them. But there are also songs, and pictures, and stickers of llamas wearing sunglasses to make you feel a little less alone.

Thank you, artists! You’ll never know all the souls to whom your work has spoken.

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