Invisible – part 1
In corporate America, they use the term “rock star” to define someone who is really good. If someone puts together a compelling powerpoint presentation, the facilitator or leader of the meeting will describe this person as a rock star. Whenever I would hear this, my blood would boil for various reasons – those of you who know me can picture my eyes rolling and then rolling – and finally rolling.
We live in a world where visibility is everything. The race is to become the most visible. What is seen is what is validated. The prize is given to the visible hero. Being a rock star means you did something in front of people. There is a crowd in front of you that is acknowledging you. There are people who admire you for whatever you have done, or will continue to do. People are applauding you. People are cheering for you. People respect you. You have either proved the world wrong, or you have convinced yourself and others that you are indeed worth being paid attention to.
There is a rock star tendency in every person. This is the inherent desire to be noticed. You can desire this passively, aggressively, or somewhere in-between. You can be smart about it, and do it with much tact. You can slowly throw in some information about your shine in quick conversation. You can quickly make mention of that amazing thing that you so desperately want to be validated in, but do it in a way that does not come off so arrogantly. You want people to know how great you are, but in a modest sort of way. This way, they will admire you and respect your modesty about it all at the same time. Today, we see all types of professions become rock stars. If you are in the non-profit sector, you can become the greatest org to do such and such. If you are in health care, you can become humanitarian of the year. If you are in ministry, you can be the speaker who sells millions of books and puts their face on each cover. If you are a pastor, you can be put on TIME magazine as the greatest pastor of our generation. The microphone seems to validate people. Give someone a microphone, and they are termed a “leader.” The soup kitchen’s owner can now find a way to amplified sound if you bring a news crew close by.
Invisibility is an interesting thing. The term invisible in no way suggests that something is not real, invalid or unimportant. It just means that it cannot be seen. Invisibility and visibility have the exact same weight. One has a shape or form – the other does not. The most important element to our existence cannot be seen – oxygen. Yet we live with respect to it. We live with deep respect to it. Something happened in our humanity when we felt the need to extol the seen. Something backward took place when invisibility lost its appeal. We have grown so faithless that invisibility is now 2nd place – 2nd priority – and less desired.
This is why people want to be seen. When people do something well, they want it to be visible. Visibility is fantastic. Good things should be visible. But I question if it is really about the goodness of something, or the greatness of the person. As an artist, I wrestle with this to my core. My entire industry is built on visibility – marketing – creating a pretty image – shining the exterior – glamourizing the ordinary. Everything is exaggerated. Everything is a hyperbole. Most days I spend wanting to quit pursuing the music industry. The other days, I somehow manage to forget about the 90% of the industry that I hate with every fiber of my being, and continue to move forward. I am hoping these other days win – otherwise, I will quit without blinking.
The wonderful potential in visibility and invisibility, is how they function with one another. There are visible and invisible aspects in everything. They coexist with each other. For example, we each have a destiny on earth. While pursuing these destinies, there lies visible signs and fruit along the way. However, in sacrifice and labor, there are invisible forces that work for us as well as against us. These include are own personal demons, the challenges of our calling, hope that continues to compel us, etc. The visible world and invisible dimensions all collide. We have the ability to engage in them both. Whenever we drown out one, we lose our way. Some of us have the opposite problem of imposing on the invisible world, and not paying attention to the visible reality and data.
I believe that our visibility must be based on work that is done in the invisible. I believe with all my heart that anything visible in our flesh must be a result of a fight that was done in the invisible. Otherwise, the extent of your satisfaction will always be so small. It will always feel so hopeless. It will regulary let you down. The invisible is the beautiful sister of visibility, that never had a chance to prove herself. She was always drowned out by visibility. But the truth is, visibility is merely a fraction of the story. It is the obvious storyline. It is the overrated summary that makes the movie not fully true. It is reading the critics rating on the back of the DVD without watching the actual movie.
My job as an artist: To walk you into the Invisible. Hopefully I’ll disappear once you get there. Peace and much love to you – jeevo