This is an excerpt from the St John’s Bible, the first completely hand lettered version of the Bible since the invention of the printing press. Our guest speaker this evening was one of the Scribes who worked on the seven volume set, Diane Van Arx. She was gracious and giving enough to share her triumphs and challenges in completing her work on this masterpiece. She spent five years working on the project and hand lettered hundreds of pages, created magnificent illuminations, and worked directly with artists from around the globe. She was both incredible and humble at the same time. A pillar of excellence in this community and yet someone who was gracious in sharing her knowledge and experience.
Being in a different place surrounded by others who love hand written letters has helped remind me why I love this artform. The creativity, the passion, the willingness to share and learn is astonishing. This environment reminds me that I want to know more, practice more, and work more to improve my skills and techniques. There are people here who have been practicing this craft for over forty years, and others who picked up a pen for the first time this year. Both are equally welcome and valuable to this community. We need the experienced to help train the next generation, and we need that next generation to carry the torch into the future. Neither can survive without the other.
The words in this piece – CHOOSE LIFE – remind me that more than one generation is necessary for life to proceed and grow. Skills can be learned and practiced, and they need to be nurtured and appreciated to survive. No one can make it alone. No one can sustain themselves without fellowship and guidance. We all need something to do, someone to love, and somewhere to belong. We all need others to help us improve our skills, like iron sharpens iron. Being around others who value what you value and are willing to share what they know only raises the bar for everyone.
So who is benefitting from your knowledge and expertise? How are you fostering growth in the next generation? Where are you investing your time and energy to ensure that what you love will continue long after you are gone? If you do not share what is inyour head and heart, how will it continue. Choose life. Choose to share your life with others to make their world better. Their iron needs your iron, and your iron needs their iron…together you will both be better.