Deep Gladness

I’ve finished teaching my last class. My art bags are packed. I’ve got a few hours to kill until I head for the Philadelphia airport. And time to reflect on nine years of  involvement with BuildaBridge International’s  Institute for Art in Transformation.

We’ve met at four different locations during that period of time and interacted with hundreds of fabulous people, of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and nationalities, interested in using the arts to bring healing and transformation to the hard places in the world. I began with the rare privilege of teaching how the visual arts can be used in transformation. Then morphed into teaching a graduate class in Art and Spirituality affliated with Eastern University. All in all, it’s been an experience of deep gladness.

American writer and theologian Fredeerick Buechner says the “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Well, he’s got that right. Teaching and participating in BI’s Institute has been a place of deep gladness for me. I’ve loved doing my small part to feed artists of all sorts as they experienced their deep hunger becoming deep gladness. A gladness that was palpable as they deepened their understanding of engaging the deep hunger of others through the arts. 

But sometimes deep gladness bubbles over into irrepressible glee. Dorming with three other practioner peer/friends is a sure catalyst for filling one’s creative tank with endless stories, ideas and laughter. The clocktower at the university where we stayed usually chimed a new day before we crawled into bed. I haven’t lived with this little sleep in a long time! Nor gotten up and out so early each morning. I might be dragging my knuckles, but I’ve got a smile on my face, and a more than happy heart.

Are you living from a place of deep gladness? What deep hunger do you meet, or dream of meeting, with your gladness? When has deep gladness become glee for you?

7 comments to Deep Gladness

  • Barbara

    Amen, sistah friend! I am currently living my gladness, and there are moments in my work, that I reach full fledged glee.

    Thank you for being a friend and mentor. With or without BI, you are forever my colleague.

  • Deanna J Bowling

    About 11:30 p.m., on May, I believe it was the 11th, after the helicopters and all of the emergency equipment had pretty much left the three sites where the triple hit-and-run happened, I posted a request to EPC’s prayer chain, for prayers for everyone involved in the triple hit-and-run.

    A couple of days later, I decided to go to a small cafe where I go on rare occasions, to have a late breakfast. While there, I recognized across the room, one of the victims of the multiple incidents. I felt the need to, and got up and went over to speak to her. I told here that we at EPC were praying for her, and we spent a few moments talking, then she and her sister, and I and myself, went back to our meals.

    About two weeks ago, I was standing in the Albertson’s shopping center parking lot, talking to a friend named Dexter who I used to work with at the Ag Office, when this woman came up to us, and stayed there. Neither my friend from work nor I recognized her, and so we went ahead and finished our conversation. When Dexter left to go home, I turned to the lady and asked her what she needed. It turns out that she was the woman who I had prayed for at the cafe. Her hair do had changed, and she no longer had the huge bandage on her hand any more. We talked for awhile, and she brought me up to date on how things were going. And she especially wanted to thank me on our behalf for our prayers.

    I felt a huge gladness in seeing how God had affirmed our prayers for the victims in the accident. THANK YOU, GOD. And thank you Lynne for the opportunity to speak to the gladness.

  • Dear Lynn;
    Just praying and hoping you continue to teach and reach people for the Lord. I just recommended some people to you as I love your teaching methods. I pray one day I myself can do a seminar with maybe Luisa or other friends. I am teaching the poor and impoverished in Nicaragua but I still do my thing in Westlake Village. Blessings to you.

  • Maria


    I left BI Sunday feeling tired and not looking forward to arriving home to things left unfinished. However, I truly had a sense of deep gladness. Gladness about being among so many young people wanting to reach out to those in need, gladness about learning new things to include in my work, gladness about witnessing, yet again, the power of the arts to transform, and gladness about having the opportunity to get to know you better. Your work touched me deeply last year. While your work continues to inspire me, it was your spirit and energy that I got to meet this year. A real blessing–thank you!

    I’m looking forward to your new resource book in the making. I know we’ll keep in touch.

  • Hey Lynne,

    I have deep gladness reading your words about BI and I have for the past couple of years.

    My deepest joy comes in helping to create space for others to pursue their passions to impact others.

    I find it’s kind of like asparagus. Once you plant it, it may take years to see the return, but once it starts to return it’s unstoppable.

    My joy comes in the form of names like Josh, Jeff, Jason, Lynne, Carol, Matt, Bryan, Gary, Darrin, John….

    As with all art, I get to play a part in a much larger story.

    You are in a word, amazing Lynne. I look forward to seeing what next great adventure God has to bring you glee.

  • well done
    for so many years of giving
    may you grow further

  • Carol Lenox

    I was using your questions for journaling … still unsure of where my deep gladness meets the worlds needs. I was reflecting on my husband and my recent decision to sponsor a young girl in Guatemala to go to college. The fact that we were making a leap with this, gave me great joy. But still, I pulled out my old journals to look for evidence of deep gladness. I came across a “mission statement” that I wrote years ago and had mostly forgotten about. In it, I wrote “to satisfy the needs of the afflicted, raising up oaks of righteousness from amongst the ruined cities, giving hope and spurring others on”. At the time this represented my desire to minister to kids who were struggling. On Thursday, several hours after I stumbled upon my old mission statement, I got a package in the mail with all of the detailed about our sponsorship. In it was a picture of Veronica in a frame, with Isaiah 61:3 on it, “…They will be called oaks of righteousness…”. It seems God was letting me know that, yes, this is where my deep gladness is meeting the worlds need!

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