Delight

Out of his past came the voice of Gounod, his choir director:

A singer can’t delight you with his singing
unless he himself delights to sing.

~ from Luncheon of the Boating Party

Can any verb be substituted for singing in this sentence?

The arts–dancing, acting, painting, sculpting, photography–make sense
because part of their purpose is to delight.

Writing, yes.
Gardening, sure.
Loving (blush).

Then we get into areas that, perhaps, don’t have delight as their first goal.
Teaching.  It can be delightful.  If it’s *not* delightful, is it effective?
Accounting? 
A stretch, you say?

But the principle fits, doesn’t it? Or does it?

What delights you today?

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8 thoughts on “Delight

  1. I agree that *accounting* is a bit of a stretch when it comes to delight, except that I delight in the orderliness of balanced accounts 🙂   Often I have stated that the singing of psalms and hymns is my favorite part of the worship service.So, you’re reading The Luncheon of the Boating Party?  I have enjoyed all of Susan Vreeland’s books, especially this one about Renoir.  I am looking forward to her 2010 release about Louis Tiffany.Two compelling Scriptures on delight that I’m sure you’re already aware of…Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word,  Is 58

  2. Col. 3:17 comes to mind — And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. — maybe “delight” and “gratitude” can be synonymous and then in this sense, we can delight or be grateful in whatever we do as the ability to do it, the desire to do it, and the rewards of doing it come from God … 

  3. I take delight in so many of the arts. Listening to a certain singer which brings me to tears with their beauty, like Eva Cassidy (?) with her version of “Over the Rainbow”….certain pieces of art where I try to understand how the artist could produce such beauty that it’s almost more beautiful than the real thing…and definitely movies that move me to tears, the latest being “The Spitfire Grill,” which I watched at a girls night at church this past Monday…and i must say, it does delight me when I write letters to friends and they tell me how much they enjoy it. I do find much joy in writing just in general. Lovely quote, Carol.

  4. On a light(er) note: what delights me today & always is dee-light-in-my-life (directly translated form Afrikaans: die lig in my lewe (the light in my life) a “loving” phrase for dear husband.

  5. Oh, I must offer a different opinion, I’m afraid- the arts are meant to communicate, not delight.  Sometimes they are meant to communicate sorrow, anger, or to inspire a desire for justice.  Perhaps you meant “Sometimes their purpose is to delight” rather than “Part of their purpose is to delight”?Could a painter hoping to inspire anger paint well enough to inspire if s/he were wrath-ful over the hours of painting?Even when the intent of the artist IS to delight, if it’s his/her 11th concert that week, wouldn’t their practised talent delight the audience even if the artist’s own emotion is more blase’?Pish!  Even our kindergarten Sunday school class delights the congregation with their singing on Easter morning, and they are rarely feeling “delight” as they sing!Or perhaps I am simply too easily led?

  6. @R1R2ish – Ruthie I really appreciate your thoughts.  I think you sense my ambivalence.  Your point about the purpose of the arts is well taken.   I wish my thoughts were more cogent.  Doesn’t the quote strike you as a call for passionate engagement with whatever you are doing?  You know, Ecclesiastes “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”Once again, I wish we were face to face at a table instead of working through this medium.

  7. I do believe it is important (Duh!  It’s in the Eternal Word!) to do things with all my might.  Also, do things as unto the Lord.It makes me nervous, however, to presume that the author of the quote had in mind those Scriptures, or a call to obey those Scriptures, when s/he wrote the quote.I come from a New Age background.  So many New Age proverbs sound very, very similar to Scriptural truths- but the slight discrepancy is actually a chasm between Life and Death.  i.e., “God is omnipresent/everywhere” (truth), is not quite the same as “God is in all things” (New Age belief).Hoorah!  My fears about the quote, the author’s intent, or the deceptiveness of the New Age beliefs don’t alter our friendship (and, even better, our sisterhood in Christ) one iota!

  8. @R1R2ish –  Indeed, our friendship is not altered.  Never fear to be the dissenting voice, Ruthie.    Again, your perspective is helpful.  I tend to be a “corn picker”  (looking for good stuff to grab even if it is in the midst of dung.  It is *not* a compliment.).  Well!  It’s good to be careful, to be discerning and to be able to distinguish between what *sounds* true and what *is* truth.I always appreciate specific references to God, e.g. The Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, as opposed to generic “higher power” titles.    

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