I was really never a Beach Boys fan. I can remember hearing their surf songs, but even as a child in the sixties, I didn't pay much attention to their music. I remember watching The Ed Sullivan Show and seeing the band, girls in bikinis dancing atop surfboards next to them.
But then my daughter suggested I watch the movie, Love and Mercy. "It's about Brian Wilson, the lead singer from the Beach Boys. Believe me, it's not cheesy, Mom. You'll love it." I doubted her recommendation, honestly. I did not have any musical connection to the Beach Boys. I forgot about her suggestion. Several months later on my weekly sojourn to the library, I saw the movie in the rack. What could it hurt?
I should not have doubted my daughter. The story chronicles Brian Wilson's poignant story to survive mental illness and keep pursuing his art. As a young man, his father pushed and pushed him and his brothers to keep writing surf songs. This music made them famous and rich. Brian had a desire to go deeper with his art, even in the face of his dad's contempt and criticism for the new music he was writing. His dad was like a toxic wave that kept washing up over his life. And that wave poisoned him for decades. He went untreated for his mental health problems and was bedridden for several years. A controlling and equally toxic psychiatrist became involved in his life, keeping him over-medicated and away from his artistic brilliance. But then a woman who loved him braved to confront the malevolent doctor, and Brian came back through a combination of love and mercy from this woman who eventually became his wife. Years later, Brain was finally recognized for the musical genius he is.
Who knew? I never realized the burdens he'd transcended as an artist and human being. In one of the interviews featured on the DVD, Brian says somthing like, I'm really proud of the music I wrote--the music my dad hated . God let me hear it and helped me write it. It was both of us.
There is almost always someone who is a censor in our lives--especially our artistic lives. And if the censor is someone we love, it is so very difficult not to take to heart what they are saying. It feels almost easier to give up--to slide the manuscript in the drawer, or to place a sheet over the canvas. Just the other day I took a walk and noticed that someone had dumped an artist's easel and a whole collection of art supplies on the side of the road. I felt sad. I wondered what had motivated this individual to conclude that their art was not worth pursuing. It was sort of the equivalent to Brian Wilson staying in bed for three years, depressed and ill, his voice shut down.
God rescues. He bursts through with love and mercy, like two brillaint red hearts painted on the gray cement of our circumstances. Be brave, good artists. Even if your censors are loud, corrosive and seething with criticism, move out from them. God strides before you leading another way. He gave you the desire to paint, to sing, to write, to create. Your voice is so very necessary. There are billions of people in this world. One or some of them need your art to heal, to be inspired, to learn something new. I plead with you. Don't give up. Don't throw your desires by the the side of the road. Let us hear. Your art is love and mercy to this wounded world.
PS Take a few minutes to listen to Brian Wilson. Love And Mercy