Have you ever thought about the creativity of the world in which we live? Sometimes, when I consider the world around me, I am stunned by the beauty and wonder. The diversity and wonder of the natural world are overwhelming, impossible to fully comprehend. The Bible teaches that God is a creator, according to Genesis…
God said, let there be light…. Imagine with me the wonder of light, as it moves through the day from the first glimmers of grey green that sneak through the woods near my home. The golden hue as it bounces off the tree tops at the close of day. Scarlett sunsets that fill the sky for just a moment. The wonder of a single shard of light breaking through the clouds on a rainy day. The way light moves us, in and out. Seeking shade or full-bodied embrace. God spoke and there was glorious light.
God said, let the land sprout with vegetation… An abundance of vegetation, from the ancient redwoods to the moss that covers my door step we are surrounded with so many kinds of plants I can’t even get my head around it. A multitude of textures and colors from the full spectrum of the rainbow. Weeping willows, lichen covering the rocks on the wall at the end of my driveway, and the fans of ferns on the driveway speak to this array. There’s not just one kind of beauty. We also enjoy the shifting beauty. Who’s ever looked at a perfectly budding rose and caught their breath? And yet, a rose in full bloom is another glory, still. Even after the petals fall to the ground, the waxy leaves and rose hips left behind stand as testament to another spare kind of beauty. Oh, and let’s just think of the spectacle of fall. The last gasp of glory before the winter sleep.
God said, let the waters swarm with fish and other life… Imagine the variety that statement contains. Whales, barnacles, octopus, dolphins, and sea horses fill the sea. Each with their own form of beauty. Creativity and wonder abound. When I was a little girl I lived on the northern tip of Scotland. Once in a while, the waves and tides would blow the jelly fish into the harbor. It was a magical sight, to see thousands of softly undulating jelly fish, bright and pulsing. Their soft round bodies like stones on a path, filling the ancient harbor. The array of life and color was breath taking.
Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind… The sheer explosion of creativity is beyond my scope. Penguins, flamingos, the great heron standing on one foot, and Canadian geese flying in formation toward their winter home in the south all live out their diverse lives. In my neighborhood, we have a flock of humming birds who buzz around our heads on the front porch, the huge owl who presides over our long driveway. Each a marvel, tiny wings beating so fast you can’t even see them and the wingspan that seems to take up the whole driveway.
God said, let the earth produce every sort of animal… horses, puppies, hippopotamus, sloths (seriously sloths), kangaroos, and moles. Variety beyond imagining. Animals that hang from trees, hide in caves, stalk the land. Animals who live their lives alone with fur and fang, and those who build colonies underground. They pounce, ponder, wallow, hop, and swing. The breadth and depth of the creation is a wonder to behold.
And this creative God also calls us to create. He breathed life into our bodies and with it the creative spark that comes from Him. Each of us is designed to live creatively. I too often think that because I am not a painter, I am not creative. Every June, for at least ten summers, I decided to be an artist and to find a way to express the creative energy that lives inside my heart. The discarded paints, chalks, and colored pencils tell the story of my frustration as my fingers fumble in unfamiliar ways and my vision and my experience diverge.
We are constantly creating and recreating our lives, our world. When we make a meal for our loved ones and set the table with an eye for color and balance, we are creating. When we clear away the clutter and stand a small flower in a jar on the window sill, we are creating. We can set our hand to creating order out of chaos in a spreadsheet, or a closet. We create spaces where people can be seen and safely held. We invite creativity and open our hearts to new way of seeing the world when we dare to make a friend.
We create lives of meaning and purpose. We plan and prepare, we gather the pieces of our lives and arrange them in ways that are meaningful to us. We volunteer in the school library. We make a meal for a sick friend. We offer our shoulder and our hearts to a friend in need. We stop and notice the hummingbird at the feeder and the way the morning light bounces off the mist. We pull over to watch the sunset. We stand without words at the sea shore. All of these small acts (and others) make up the sum of our lives.
I want to live a creative life. One that spills over with love. I want to create moments, spaces, and conditions that help people live freer and more fully. I want to get messy, and sticky with people in the give and take of friendship. I need the hope others offer me so freely, and want to paint my world with playful colors of love and laughter. I want globs of joy to splatter out of my everyday living, and land with a plop on the people I bump into as I go about my day.
My challenge is to pay attention to the details of my life. To celebrate and embrace the ordinary wonders, the mundane miracles. My life, like any creative endeavor is a work in progress. I add layer upon layer, cutting away things that no longer serve me and adding new thoughts, new people, new ways of being. My life is a canvas, and I will continue to create while I still have breath. But lives that are consistent with who we are and who we want to become. The way we intentionally build our lives, the materials we use, the way we arrange and rearrange our lives matter.
My life is my life, as yours is your alone. We all have a beautiful mixture of difficult and heartbreaking swirled in with beautiful and mundane. Our lives are a mixture of good and bad, hard and soft, bitter and sweet. How we arrange these things, the stories we tell about them, matter… they matter a lot. What we focus on, will grow. So, I am setting my sights on the beauty and wonder in my life. Acknowledging the difficult and making adjustments, but attending to the lovely. What are you creating today?