Posted by: anakalia66 | February 15, 2008

Do It for Love

A while ago someone told me, “It’s OK to do what you love just because you love it.” Oddly, that little statement dropped a bomb on my world. Being a freakish perfectionist, I have really never thought about the value of doing something for the sake of doing it—no, you do things to succeed, to get noticed, to eventually be able to do them perfectly and then find opportunities to brag about it. In fact, doing things for me is strictly a means to an end. If I am cooking a steak it’s just so that I can eat the steak later on. And if I notice a beautiful sunset on my drive home, I don’t really stop to watch it because—why? What would that produce? I would just have to rush through the activities of my night because I stopped to marvel at some clouds. If I take a bath it’s just to relax my muscles enough that I can go to sleep. Baths bore me with their needlessness. I value getting things done and checked off the list, and from what I have noticed, so do most other people.


So it makes sense that when it comes to writing or dancing or drawing, some things that I love, I don’t do them because I don’t think I will succeed at them, and they have no purpose to me. I value success and nothing more. I don’t do what I love because it doesn’t have inherent joy and value in my eyes. That feeling of whirling and twirling in somebody’s arms isn’t good enough, and neither is the small thrill that I dipped a paint in a paintbrush and put on a mark on a canvas.


Of course, all this does have a tie to spirituality, which is the frustrating place I always end up, always at the bottom of everything. (Blasphemous statement of the day: I wish something did not have to do with spirituality.) I have always liked the phrase “beauty for the sake of beauty” but never understood what it meant. The more I think about it in spiritual terms, the more shockingly clear it becomes. Yes, beauty helps along systems and processes, like procreation, and honey bees and flowers. But the ultimate point isn’t the function. The point is the beauty itself—because It. Is. Enough. It needs no excuse. It is good, all by itself.


Look at the world and you will see that it is in God’s nature to make beauty for the sake of beauty. The extraordinary subterranean oceanic life. All the different kinds of fishes, for crying out loud … nobody has to be that extravagant with colors and coral and algae. Even that smokestack as I was driving home yesterday, breathing out these beautiful white wisps of smoke that curled and danced, backlit by a peachy sky, that was excessive. I almost drove off the road looking at it so hard. What is the purpose of the smokestack? Just to thrill my soul and to remind me that I have an appetite for loveliness.


Are you with me so far? Do you agree that God creates some things just because he loves doing it? Revels in things that have purpose only in being delightful to his soul? If that’s true, I can create and indulge in beauty even if I never write that award-winning book, if I just write because I enjoy writing and nobody ever sees my thoughts rambling across the page. I can dance and dance and dance even if I never teach my own dance class.


The smokestack vignette and my role in it is the most important part of my week. It tells me something. It tells me I am living my life completely wrong. It’s not the cup of coffee, it’s the brewing, bubbling, blackness of the liquid in the pot that I should enjoy. It’s not the getting dressed in the morning so I can walk out to my car and go to work, but the feeling of the texture against my skin and the way the colors look next to one another. It’s not that I have to sit in traffic to see you for coffee, it’s that I look at the scenery while I am driving and notice the mountains have snow on them and the air is brisk.


Anyway, I wish that everyone would do something they love just because they love it, and create something beautiful for the sake of beauty, and don’t even try to show it to someone or do something useful with it. Just hide it, and know that the bare beauty alone has made you happy and it was all worth it.



  1. […] I enjoy writing and nobody ever sees m y thoughts rambling across the page…. source: Do It for Love, Merging […]

  2. Tell this to our clergy-people worldwide. Sike. I think Christians, including me, live way too contrived lives searching and pouring through the scriptures for us to find ways of encountering beauty, where beauty comes in the form of lazy contentment.

    The world is already full of beauty. I’m reminded of a previous entry nieophyte put up about constructing a pool right next to the beach. Talk about missing the mark.

  3. Does that mean that you should not write on this blog since it’s public? 😛

    I need a sabbath to give myself enough time to appreciate beauty… to create beauty… *sigh*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: