Tag: inspiration

Your Dream . . . Worth the Wait!

Patrick Cavanaugh’s book, Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers, reveals intriguing details of George Frederick Handel’s life-changing experience composing The Messiah. By age 56 he was about to retire as a failure when a friend gave him a libretto of Scripture verses—and everything changed.

Cavanaugh writes, “Handel threw himself into writing and in a staggering stretch completed part one in only six days, part two in only nine, and part three in another six. He worked feverishly, driven by one overwhelming purpose.”

According to Cavanaugh, at one point he answered the door with tears streaming down his face and cried out, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God himself.” He had just finished what would become known as the “Hallelujah” chorus.

Cavanaugh describes this amazing experience: “Handel completed an astounding 260 pages of orchestration in only twenty-four days. During that process, he didn’t leave his house, and friends often found him sobbing with emotion . . . . Some have considered it one of the greatest musical feats in history.”

Writer, speaker, and producer Phil Cooke reflects on this inspiring account in his blog . . . It was as if he had been waiting his entire life for that moment.

“Even Handel’s commercial successes were usually followed by financial disaster. He was attacked by the church and many at the time felt little reason to believe his talent was worthy of any kind of legacy—until The Messiah . . . .

“Out of a past that was uneven at best, the creation of Messiah was a burst of creativity driven by the remarkable passion of a man who glimpsed his one real purpose.”

Phil asks this penetrating question: “What’s that one moment you’ve been waiting for all your life? How many times have you thought about giving up?”

 

Outtakes . . .

An excerpt from Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life

Author Makoto Fujimura, Director of Fuller’s Brehm Center, is an artist, writer, and speaker recognized worldwide as a cultural shaper.

As newlyweds, Makoto and his wife, Judy, were struggling to make ends meet. One evening Judy came home with a bouquet of flowers and Mako was upset that she had spent money on flowers when there was rent to pay. She simply said, “We need to feed our souls, too.” Mako reflects on this experience:

Bringing home a small bouquet of flowers created a genesis moment for me. Judy’s small act fed my soul. It renewed my conviction as an artist. It gave me new perspective. It challenged me to deliberately focus on endeavors in which I could truly be an artist of the soul. That moment engendered many more genesis moments in the years that followed, contributing to  decisions small and large that have redefined my life and provided inspiration for myself, my family, and my communities. 

Genesis moments like this often include elements of the great story told in the beginning of the biblical book of Genesis: creativity, growth—and failure. Two of these elements are common in discussions about arts and culture. God creates and calls his creatures to fruitfulness. Adam exercised his own creativity in naming what has been created. But the story also runs into failure and finitude. 

Generative thinking often starts out with a failure, like my failure to think and act like an artist. I have discovered that something is awakened through failure, tragedy, and disappointment. It is a place of learning and potential creativity. 

In such moments you can get lost in despair and denial, or you can recognize the failure and run toward the hope of something new . . . . 

Creativity applied in a moment of weakness and vulnerability can turn failure into enduring conversation, opening new vistas of inspiration and carnation. 

To remember what Judy did, to speak of it to others, to value her care—all this is generative . . . leading to the birth of ideas and actions, artifacts and relationships that would not otherwise have been.

On-Screen Inspiration . . . in Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3

Deus ex machina—“god of the machine”—an unexpected power (the hand of god) saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a device in a play.

Toward the end of Toy Story 3, an edge-of-your-seat scene occurs of a thrilling salvation from a hopeless situation—the quintessential “deus ex machina.”

Woody, Buzz, and the gang are trapped in the back of a trash truck. As the truck deposits its load at a landfill, the toys find themselves on a conveyor belt heading for certain death in the flames of the incinerator.

The toys grasp each others’ hands as they resign themselves to their fate . . .

Suddenly, from far above, an industrial claw reaches down and raises them out of the fiery pit.

“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” —Psalm 40:2

Laus Deo. “Praise be to God.”

What’s your most inspiring film scene—and why? Let us know at feedback@mastermediaintl.org.