Monday, June 24, 2013

Thoughts on Creativity

I spent last Saturday celebrating the life of Jay's maternal grandmother, who lived to be 95 years old.  She was the kind of person who you envy for the simplicity of her life.  She never owned much, never wanted for much. She spent the bulk of her life in service of others. She was happy with her well-worn, underlined, dog-eared, duct-taped (literally) Bible and her abiding faith in a Lord who would one day call her home.

The service was held in a church in her home town of Thompson, Pennsylvania; one of those idyllic rural towns where nothing has changed in the last 100+ years. Literally. The main drag includes two churches, a masonic temple, and a post office. And not much more than that.  She was buried in the family plot just around the corner from the church.
The service was led by her youngest son, Paul.  Paul talked about his mother's love of the scriptures and how in her later years he made a game of starting a bible verse and she would jump in and finish it.

I consider myself a deeply spiritual person, but not at all "religious" in the sense of being affiliated with any particular church, faith, or belief system.  Yet, as Paul was talking about their bible game, he said something that struck me deeply - and has stuck with me since.  Paul mentioned Genesis 1:1  "In the beginning, God created..."

He stopped at the word "created".  I think that is why it caught my attention.  The first five words of the Bible. God CREATED. The story in Genesis goes on to say God CREATED the heavens, the earth, light, dark, fish, fowl, and animals. Now that is one imaginative dude (or dudette or energy or whatever) - seriously - giraffes, elephants, parrots, flamingos, peacocks, whales, sharks, starfish, lobster - so much color and shape and size and style.

And so I thought, sitting there in that pew on Saturday morning, what greater sanction could we have for the act of creating, for allowing ourselves the time to BE creative, than the idea that being creative is a divine act?

Regardless of what creation theory you subscribe to, it still comes back to being creative, doesn't it?

I have believed for awhile that we are born to create and each of us has a different and unique gift to bring to the table. To share with the world. To let our light shine.  I don't know how to describe the feeling I got when Paul said those five words. It was like an "aha" moment. Like what I've believed all along was somehow being validated in a real and tangible sense. Being creative isn't just a hobby or play. It is an affirmation of my true nature, my divine self.  I am a CREATIVE soul. And it's all good.

I'm interested in your thoughts on creativity... is it in our nature? or is it just a pleasurable hobby?

14 comments:

Sian said...

Good post!

I think it's part of our nature. It started out as a practical thing, now it feels like it's answering a need to leave a little bit of us behind. I can't imagine not wanting to make things and I count myself very lucky that I come from a family of creators.

Cheryl said...

Firstly, I'm sorry for your loss. Secondly, I LOVE this connection you made. I do think that we all have creativity inside us (nothing riled me up more while teaching than to hear, "But I'm not creative.") and are born with a desire to create. I think that sometimes life stifles our creativity, and what we create may not always conform to other people's definition of creation, but that the creative pull and spirit is always there. I grew up sawing my dad's creativity, whether it was taking photos, making jewelry, or building models, and I saw that creative spirit pull at him when it had been a while since he created. The same is true for me, and I'm grateful to have inherited that creative spirit.

Debra Dotter Blakley said...

I too agree with you, it is part of what and who we are to create. And I also believe that whatever the divine energy is, it is still in process, every second we are surrounded by and breathed through by this creative energy which we sometimes name God. Unfortunately I believe we have so dressed it up in clothes of our own making that we often lose sight of the heart, the creative spirit of genius which calls us to be creative as well. "See here? i am giving you a pattern, example and permission to create." You, by the way, are so beautifully creative it is wonderful to stop by here often and receive the blessing of your creations. Thanks so much for being willing to share with all of us.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Wow - Cheri - this post just stopped me in my tracks. So much to ponder about creativity. Your paragraph about how vast a creative spirit it takes to conceive of all the amazing animals really made me smile. And your opening paragraph is a beautifully rendered portrait of a spiritual person. Thanks for sharing. I think I'm going to go create a postcard with a lime green and purple giraffe for the summer of color project!
Rinda

alexa said...

A lovely and thoughtful post and tribute to a clearly,wonderful soul ... Creativity is, I think, the bedrock of who we are, the underlying energy which enables us to grow,and become all that we can be. As you say, the world is full of the most stunning creative energy just doing its thing in myriad forms!

Melissa said...

So sorry to hear about your loss, but it seems like she was a wonderful woman and had a long life.

I believe (and have taught in some Bible studies) that since we were created in the image of the Creator (God), therefore we are all creative and have an innate need to create. I have even used this as an excuse to add paper crafting projects into a Bible study or retreat curriculum. :>)

Amy said...

And then creativity becomes so closely entwined with nurturing for me - nurturing myself and my family and my home.
It makes me very sad when I hear of people who have no hobby/creative outlets other than their work, it happens all too often and it is as though part of a persons soul or potential is missing.

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Oh, Cheri, I love this post - every bit of it. I think it's really cool that you picked up on Paul's words, and clearly his creative way of delivering those words worked wonders for you. I do believe that creativity is in our nature, and even though some people will claim to not be creative (my sister) I think that we all have it within us. Some of us make art, and some of us make food or accessorize (my sister). Imagination is one of my favorite all time things! Great post!

scrappyjacky said...

A really thoughtful and thought provoking post,Cheri....and,like Deb, I do believe that creativity is in us all....in whatever form it may take....and is essential for our wellbeing.

Karen said...

This is just a fabulous post, Cheri. I'm going to print it out to save. Since I never saw myself as a very creative person until late in my life, I would have initially not thought that creativity was innate. But in thinking about it now, I do believe (and always have) that each of us has gifts to bring to the table, and each of those is a form of creativity in the end.

Jennie said...

What a wonderful post Cheri - very moving opening - and I am so sorry for your loss. I have come to the conclusion that the need to create is in all of us - whether we make something tangible - a picture or a dress or whether creativity comes out in making a safe and loving home or a nurturing person. I feel there is too much emphasis on work placed on everyone today - so that often they deny their instincts and so don't see themselves as a creative people. Thank you for such a lovely and thought provoking post - I too will be printing it out. J x

Alison said...

Just catching up with some blog reading, Cheri......what a thought-provoking post. It sounds as though it was an uplifting service for a very special lady.....isn't it amazing how a word just reaches us in the most unusual places?.....being creative is a balm for the soul!
Alison xx

Candace said...

I too am catching up on blog reading. Absolutely love your thoughts on this post. I find I get grumpy when I don't do something creative for a while.

Missus Wookie said...

Another catching up and reading backwards. What a wonderful woman and a well lived life. I'm with Melissa, I feel we are all made to be creative and to explore this wonderful life we've been given - that is a big part of the course I teach. Everyone is creative but not everyone is creative in the same way.

Lovely pondering material this - thank you.