Lindsey Weishar: Glimmers, artistic endeavors, and an ‘Enkindle’ retreat
My Vocation is Love / Lindsey Weishar
What a lovely thing to be able to still say Happy Easter, to bask in the fact that “He is risen indeed!” In her wisdom, the Church gives us 50 days to let this great truth of the Resurrection soak in.
And what a joy that this celebration carries us through spring — the whisper of green that begins in the underbrush, bursts through in the delights of sunny daffodils, vivid tulips, and regal irises, and lingers on the air in the heady scents of lilacs and peonies.
Recently I stumbled upon the term “glimmers,” which are in fact the opposite of “triggers.” However you feel about the latter term, isn’t it a delight to know there’s a word for what coiner Deb Dana calls “micro moments of goodness”? When you come upon a glimmer, your brain feels a sense of well-being and connection. For example, at the time of this writing, I just returned a few hours ago from a May Day picnic. The way the sun shone through the lime-green of the new leaves was lovely, as was the presence of good friends.
A RETREAT FOR WOMEN ARTISTS
Another glimmer has been reflecting upon the beautiful women artists I got to meet during my yearlong stint writing for The Young Catholic Woman’s print magazine, “VIGIL.” As readers may remember, last summer I attended the GIVEN Forum in Washington, D.C. GIVEN’s mission is to equip women to see themselves as gifts and to serve the church with their unique gifts.
The more women artists I talked to — and by artist I mean so many things: icon writers, photographers, dancers, singers, poets, painters, candle makers, graphic designers, pottery workers, film makers, interior designers, writers — the more I wanted to create a retreat that not only provided them with a place for community and rest, but an experience in which they could evangelize by sharing their gifts within the context of a parish community.
From these experiences, “Enkindle,” a retreat for women artists has been born.
Taking place at St. Matthew Parish in Champaign June 24-26, this retreat is open to women ages 22-40 in the Diocese of Peoria. The themes will be freedom and barriers to freedom in life and the life of the artist, vulnerability in the artistic life, the necessity of beauty, and the unique way artists evangelize the culture.
This retreat will provide up to 12 women a space to both rest and share their gifts with parishioners. There will be a potluck on June 25, and each woman will be asked to share their gifts in some way, either by displaying their work, performing or showing their art, or giving a brief talk on their lives as artists. The goal is to lean deeper into the symbiotic relationship between a parish and its artists. As Sirach 38:34a says of artisans: “they maintain the fabric of the world.”
APPRECIATING THE GIFTS
My prayer for this retreat is that other iterations can be done at other parishes in the diocese over the years, and that different demographics of artists can be called into community for a weekend of appreciating together the gifts God has given them. Some of the greatest glimmers of my own life have come while writing poetry. Remembering moments of grace and hope form the basis of what goes into my writing, and in that way, poem becomes prayer.
However, it can be easy as an artist to think one is alone. So often our work takes place in solitude. This retreat is a reminder that artists have a community — the parish, and by extension the whole body of Christ. I pray the retreat is also a reminder to the parish that they have artists among them, and that artists in a special way image God through the work they create.
As I sit here in the fading light of a spring evening, the glimmer I’m experiencing is quite literally coming from a tiny tealight. It has been created by a woman artist, Anna Camacho, the maker and owner of CORDA candles. Each of her scents is inspired by the saints or our Catholic faith. The tea light burning now is called “Battle Cry” and is inspired by St. Michael the Archangel. How beautiful that our church contains so many creatives, and how lovely when we can come to know and support them.
I ask you to pray for “Enkindle,” and those who are inspired to attend this retreat. If you’re a young woman artist (of any kind, even aspiring) and want to attend the retreat, or if you’re not a young woman artist, but would like to be involved in some way, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Praying your glimmers are abundant this Easter season.
LINDSEY WEISHAR is a poet, freelance writer, and native of Champaign who has a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is executive assistant to the president at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. Write to her at email@example.com .