Welcome to The Life Artist, home and homage to the ongoing story of a Spirit-shaken family discovering the fine art of living. I’m real glad you’re here. Thank you!
My mama and papa christened me Erika Lynn, getting married to the hottest guy north of the mason-dixon line added Morrison to my name. Now I’m sure you can put one and one together, but I’ll just go ahead and say it anyway and again: Hi! I’m Erika Lynn Morrison. Welcome to me. I’ve got lots of beating, bleeding, on-my-sleeve kind of heart and a pretty big, there’s-room-for-you-here, soul. I’m gonna tell you some things about myself, and because God didn’t make me in the third person, I’m gonna tell you without pretending that I didn’t. Besides, I like to use “I am” statements the way Jesus did. (You know, “I am the way, the truth and the life” or “I am the resurrection and the life” or “I am the good shepherd” or “I am the true vine” etc.)
I am a wife:
The Austin Morrison and I have been married for 14 glorious perfect incandescent abundant years. And when I say “abundant” I mean that our story is full of failure, setback, stress, fight, disappointment, loss, pain, sweat, and tears; laughter, transformation, joy, memory, friendship, worship, hand holding, love making, prayer saying, children nurturing, mission building, vow speaking and much more. We know what cards life can deal and we know that our humanity can cheat with the hands we are dealt, but our married love has stood through 14 years of holy fire and been beaten against no less than ten dozen threshing floors and because of it? We are strong (but no longer naive) and good, so SO good together.
I am a mother:
I was 20-years-young when that first boy made me a mama, 22-years-young when the second boy filled my arms and 23-years-young when the third boy was born in my pajama pants on an elevator. Three boys in three years gives a good enough picture of the pace and fullness of our family. I’d ask you to hand me a drink if I liked the taste of alcohol. That aside, we have too much fun together – homeschooling and hiking and being general hooligans just for the life of it.
I am a friend:
My people are good people, a dynamic and diverse community of movers, shakers, misfits and Christ-followers. We make our home and invest our hearts in the Yale University town of New Haven, CT. As a committed group of gifted contributors, we seek to care for each other and the city whose streets and people we’ve adopted as our own.
I am an artist:
A LIFE artist to be more specific. I’ve been known to define art as “your soul outside your body” and “the manifestations of your specifics dictated by your resources”. But here’s what you need to know: my resources are the most base of materials, like air and skin and laundry and every mundane, ordinary thing you can think of that might come across a person’s space between waking and sleeping hours. I make a fine art out of living and I’m nothing if not audacious about it. Which is another way of saying that I’m not afraid to create life in a way I’ve never seen it nuanced before…with the hope that it will inspire my sphere of influence to be more alive and more creative with their own breathing and walking and making; with the hope that it will elevate the Kingdom of God by bringing particles and sibilants of heaven down to earth right this minute. I am an intimate and intentional witness; always discovering, composing, and documenting each atom and detail of living that I humanly can, weaving those threads together into a story of unspeakable depth by creating piece after masterpiece of animated art.
I am an alchemist:
Like the original Alchemist who looked over an ancient dust-spread and shaped humanity with dirt pieces and Holy Ghost breath, it is in my nature to transmute common things into substances of great value. Equipped with the Spirit inside me, I pay attention to the little “invaluable” things in such a way as to infuse them with worth.
I am an anthropologist:
Sometimes I lay in bed during the night watch and imagine all kinds of people standing behind my eyes. I place them there just so I can look real long into their soul-windows and speak these words over them in the dark: “I see you”. Because what if nobody ever tried to see them before and my looking at them with love is like a prayer going out to cover this essential human need? So I lay with my physical eyes shut and my spirit-eyes wide open and I see the panorama of skin colors and heights, sizes and shapes. But more importantly I see that everyone is carrying the weight of their own history; an entire world, riding piggy on their backs and everyone is fighting their own battles, wearing their own scars, bleeding from their own wounds, pushing through their own struggles… I see men and women because God has gifted me in my guts with the ability. And when I see humanity in this way, then I know them too. This is a gift that no higher education institution can offer. I am an anthropologist.
I am an avant-garde pilgrim and visionary:
I am a pilgrim because it is in my devoted nature to journey long distances into the sacred heart of God and come out making manifest on the earth the story of our relationship. I am a visionary because I believe that I have a keen sense of foresight for where the body of Christ is going. Avant-garde is the adjective that best describes the medium by which I make pilgrim or vision cast, and that way is marked by unorthodox, radical and experimental methods; the gift to push the status quo and create new abstractions from what once was old. Or in the words of Wendall Berry: “As soon as the generals and politicos can predict the motion of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go.”
I am an author:
For such a time as this I’ve been commissioned to make good, life-giving sentences. I’ve been commissioned to make sentences that descend like shock pedals to the reader’s chest, bringing something – anything – inside them back to life. I am an author because I love words, I love story and I love people.
I am an advocate:
Woven between all the other “I am s” is a fervent value of mission. Through a variety of actions, I beat HARD the drum of social justice and spend time with my family each week giving value and voice to our city’s most distressed and broken people groups. Our approach is shoulder to shoulder because we believe that our liberty is bound up together and that stripped of our circumstances, we are all the same: family.
(Clearly the letter “a” has a thing for me… Even though I’ve tried to tell it that I’m already married and very much in love.)