I’m asked today by the good people at #Reverb10 to consider the friendship that has changed me or my perspective on the world this year. I don’t think that there is one friend though I did highlight Teri in my last post, but I don’t want to be redundant. I’ll offer that instead as the reason that I’m distracting myself from actually writing a sermon as I blog. It’s the story in Matthew again. I preached it 3 years ago. I’m not sure I have anything new to say about Joseph or the possibility of incarnation — even though I want to believe that this relationship with God is growing and changing as much as I am. Blah. Blah. Blah. That’s not the question.
Instead, I’m to muse on the friendship that has transformed me — and I don’t think it’s one friendship. I don’t even think that it’s a flesh-and-blood person. For me, it’s a relationship to something that I haven’t known how to engage for a while. I’m finding a new way to be in that space with this friend, namely my creativity.
I’ve long heard that my ministry is filled with creativity. I offer a different way of looking at sacred text. I give a little twist to the ways that I go about being church with the body of Christ. That’s nice. No. Really. That’s nice. But it doesn’t feel creative. It’s not what gets me really excited because it’s not wholly engaging my inner-most creativity. I can’t put my finger on the difference. I don’t fully understand the difference between being a creative person and engaging my creativity. But, it’s something I’ve noticed. It’s something I’m keenly aware of as I try to pray my way through lines and colors. I’m trying (and often not succeeding) to let go of what it looks like. I’m trying to be so present in the process that the end product isn’t what matters, but I was trained to worry about that. I went to art school. I studied with people that are actually making art now. They get paid to do so. And I’m a little jealous because I feel like I should be producing. I should be making. I should be making beautiful things. Except that I’m not as interested in painting the pretty watercolors I once did. Instead, I want those marks I make to say something more about who I am. I want it all to be related. I want to be whole.
So, I started this online journey through Advent where I thought maybe this old relationship could be re-kindled enough that I could find my creativity. I’ve been feeling discouraged this week. I’m making things. I’ve been creating but it hasn’t really felt right. And then, this reminder arrives in my email with this poem from David Whyte:
In the creative process, there are seasons of turning inward, of hibernation and rest, times when we are not “producing” art. In these times, the dark will become your womb, the night will see your beautiful creative heart and nurture it back into aliveness. How might your own creative process shift by allowing yourself times of dormancy and renewal instead of judgment over what won’t come? Listen for what brings you alive. The darkness calls you to let go of anything else. Can you allow yourself that release?
Yes, I believe I can allow myself that release or at least I can try. I can certainly try. After all, that’s what happens with friends. You make room for each other to grow. I guess it’s my friend creativity’s turn to grow. I just have to make that space for her — and I’m sure she’ll surprise me.