Creating Matters

Life brings so many tough challenges- but that’s not all it can bring!

We all know about the bad news. It’s all over the web, on our tv’s, radio and in conversations between friends.

Illness, natural disasters, relational breakups, I won’t go further, no need to ruin what may already be a stressful day for you.

So what about creative play?

Indeed, why organizations and people doing things such as http://www.playfull.org? No infomercial here, just an important question relating to what I’m about to say.

WHY SO MANY SOULS?
Meister Eckhart

When were you last really happy?
Let that experience ferment,
bring it to mind once
in a while.
Surely in the genesis of that past moment, when you danced,
you would not have wanted a constable
to have knocked
on your
door,
or have said, “You just entered
a restricted ground.”
Why are there so many stars and souls,
with no end in sight for
them?
Because nothing can interrupt God
when He is having
fun,
creating!

One of the many UPlifting things we have in this life is the ability to be creative, to actually play, to make something from nothing or near-nothing or at times, from easily available materials.

Sometimes a purpose can be and is served from the actual bit of play, work, art, creative elements. What I mean by this is in the “utilitarian” sense. But this is often looked upon as anti-art. There is some sense in such a view. Narrow parameters can shut down imagination and hinder truly unique and good work.

On the other hand, art-for-art’s sake and having little meaning or purpose, vanity or a waste of time is how some creative work is judged. Sometimes perhaps rightly so.

Much of either of these judgements are a matter of “the beholder” and the “one-size-fits-all” view is in my view, flawed and shallow-thinking.

It -can- be that creative play blesses when God and others are in need for us to interact with them in a different, fresh way.

Authentic happiness often arrives on the wings of creativity, play, imagination, in “making stuff”.

I personally find the journey often more fulfilling than arriving.

For example, the actual process of songwriting, of learning new scales, individual notes or a series of them I’d never discovered before (or forgotten) brings a sense of joy. There is accomplishment at finishing a cigarbox guitar and looking at it in a very minute sense, yet like God in Genesis being able to say “it is GOOD”! Yes. Happiness often arrives on just such a train.

In fact I like trains and just played, waxing (there it is again!) words that sometimes come almost spring-loaded (Spring-loaded? Double entendre) much as wind, rain, sweet sunlight births gardens of wildflowers full of life.

So you see even as I write this blog I’m doing the very thing I’m writing about.

Too many of us get caught in the negatives, the doldrums, the pains, sins and cares of our journey.

Further, please consider:

“Therapy” Modern Latin therapia, from Greek therapeia- curing, healing, service done to the sick; a waiting on, service, from therapeuein- to cure, treat medically, literally attend, do service, take care of

We do not do ourselves nor anyone else loving service when we bang our heads continually against the pains of this life. They are real, often cannot be avoided or fully managed… but there ARE tools such as prayer, studying the Bible, talking things through with trusted mentors, and indeed, creative play!

When studying creativity one finds much said about limits we or others place on us with regard to creativity and play.

I have often pondered what “sanctified imagination” is and might mean, yet I also realize that risk-taking, failure, facing the issues of misunderstanding, confusion and outright rejection all enter into the landscape of a creative person or even a few moments of creative pursuit/play.

On one hand I think in our human concern for people we want to do what we can to free them up to stretch, try new things, take risks in a safe environment and all of this is good, important and needed.

On the other hand I do worry that the bungee cord and apparatus may need a bit more thorough consideration and even testing before a person launches themselves several hundred feet toward the bottom of a gorge!

This is where collaboration helps a great deal, best done with people who have been down the very creative road (or similar one) you wish to travel.

As I and many others have said, the process itself, engagement with the elements involved in imagining and creating is often where the greatest happiness is experienced.

Now there are likely Christians reading this who still worry about what’s “going on” here.

The truth is that one can swing fully out of balance on either side of the issue: careless, unthinking risk, anything goes and we can simply trust things will work out for the best vs. consider how this creative work may feed or actually starve, that is, hurt someone for whom Christ deeply loves and died for. There is great power in publicly shared art and therefore great responsibility.

Live a few years and you’ll find you can play yourself into quite a bad place and/or imprison yourself with fear to the point of never trying anything new or different or fun.

God is not a fun cop and in my view Meister Eckhart’s fine poem (lifted from the playfull.com site, thank you) nails it.

Coloring outside the lines, swimming against conventional ideas of art-making, creative work and play are all parts of what I’ve enjoyed. I deeply enjoy making. When one is imperfect, one is bound to make imperfectly. So be it!

I do what I do with a great deal of prayer, often prepare and read through a lot of info., chat with others as mentors in the particular area of creativity, and then go for it.

As I’ve written elsewhere, sometimes I realize it was simply taking a break from the brokenness in our world that was needed. Sometimes what I do brings life and health to others, sometimes simply to myself. There are moments I look back and in retrospect begin to see I learned something rather profound in those moments of play I snatched out of a few minutes.

In everything give thanks- and when one recognizes the kiss of God, perhaps even something truly beneficial from the active creative, both He and they, smile.

Be encouraged- and thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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