Thursday, January 06, 2011
A word for the year...
Many of my blog friends have pondered what word they will concentrate on for the next year. I assume it doesn't say anything about me that I have clung to the SAME word for the last few years. It even sits atop a Scrabble "log" with the word written out in Scrabble tiles on my breadbox... H O P E. For that is what I have needed these past years, lots and lots of hope. :)
But one must eventually think on new words and it so happens there have been images floating around my mind, just waiting to all come together in some cohesive sentence... or in this case... word. What replaces a word so deeply ingrained in my thinking that it has been there for years? That word is... and it surprised me... CREATIVITY.
I've been thinking for some time now about what is missing in my life and the more I pondered, I realized I was missing the creative aspect which used to be quite central. I suppose the dam in the creek which blocked creative doing (other than decorating and blogging) was two fold--- chronic illness and living at the poverty line. Neither of which I thought would be a part of life at this age but both facts of life one works around... everyone has some thorn in the flesh they deal with and these are two on my path.
I think we can look at childhood and the early teen years to see the seeds of our creative gifts. I remember "cooking" and trying out new culinary creations on my mother and father when I was very young (my father passed away when I was ten so it had to be long before then). I have always loved to cook and bake and read recipe books but it has been awhile since I have wanted to try anything really new.
The other side of creativity which has been lacking for a long time is in the area of needlework. Starting in my teens, I enjoyed embroidery and cross stitch. Later I quilted and made various forms of folk art, including bears and theologically incorrect angels. (I cannot call myself a quilter as I never tried anything big or complicated.) But all went by the wayside as life became too hard and energy was lacking.
When there is anything in our life that constantly demands attention... our own illness, that of a loved one, loss of income, moving, a new baby, adopting a child, having someone come to live with us, or any change in our life requiring getting used to something new... and as you can tell from the list, the change can be good as well as challenging... our thoughts and energies all go to that or them.
Much like when one is lost outside in the snow far too long, blood starts flowing to the major organs to protect them, causing a dangerous lack to the feet and hands... as the body must go into survival mode. We tend to do that in our lives when walking through severe stress.
We continue on with what we can almost do in our sleep... for me that is blogging (I love to write and I love you) and basic homemaking and basic cooking... and set aside that which requires more thought for sometimes we don't have enough energy left from getting through the day to think about anything other than brushing teeth and snuggling between flannel sheets.
But in the last few months, I've felt a tug at my heart... a longing for that which has been overlooked far too long. I need to go beyond the every day gotta do's to create something tangible. I also need to dig deeper into the well of our Lord's Word and those who have walked before me in the faith... more than the daily reading of a few verses and even more than my beloved devotionals.
I need to bathe in His Word and in biography. I need to get to the point I feel the sand of the Holy Land beneath my feet and smell the sea air off Galilee and sense the excitement of the early church. I find myself craving that feeling one gets in the midst of a creative project and the Eureka moment when I realize that which I have planned in my mind is now coming together in my hands.
There must be a toppling over of walls of fear and fatigue which keep one from expanding their horizons.
I've mentioned so often the need to be surrounded by beauty at home, especially as the outside world seems so out of our control. I've been thinking lately about beauty and liturgy and how we are created in the image of a creative God. How beauty is a need in our life, far more than just a desire.
I often think of a woman I met only once or twice soon after I married, the mother of a large brood of children whose family my husband rather adopted (or they adopted him?) around his late teenage years. He talked about this family so often through the years, I felt I knew them. They were quite opposite than the home he grew up in, which could be very cold and critical.
The image I recall from the day I visited their home was a mother and children of various ages (the older children in their late teens) all laughing around a long table as they were working on some form of sewing and crafting together. The very atmosphere of their home was joy and creativity.
Every Easter holiday (until my mother-in-law passed away) would find my family traveling to my husband's home town and attending the Lutheran church which he knew from his infancy. The beautiful liturgical wall hangings displayed in the church would always make me reflect on the mother of this large family. For within the daily must do's of raising a family, she created Glory to God with her hands.
I want to be that and do that this next year. I want to create more, to laugh more, to thank Him more, to look past circumstances and find that which brings joy. I want to read about saints and sinners saved by grace, to learn what they learned and walk as they walked whether recent or centuries past... in the midst of that which is day to day living. I want to create...