The delectable smell of a dark chocolate cake waft through the air as I scrawl thoughts across a page with ease. The easy notes of Norah Jones, Ed Sheeran, and Jack Johnson and make their way to my kitchen. It is 11:00pm on a Saturday night. I am baking a cake for my oldest daughter, and yet, I am plagued with the urge to write. To create. I started painting this week. It is GOOD for the soul, y’all, let me tell you. Many of you know that I build furniture and upcycle in my spare time, but creating a piece on paper was a completely different experience. I LOVE to paint walls. That roller brush in my hand and I am a happy camper, let me tell ya!
And so I shared with several friends this new passion, with the end result looking not too shabby (unlike the numerous fails I have had in the past). I had several stimulating conversations with friends about why art is soothing, and why we are so drawn to it. I argued that everyone is creative in their own way. Many disagreed with me, but that did not deter me. Everyone has a way of expressing their own creativity; the flare they use when making dinner for their family. The ease in which they write proposals at work. The carpenter who can take timbers and create a beautiful outdoor space. The jaw dropping ability for a mother to have more than four school aged children and to still be sane (we ALL salute you!). I am always amazed at people who can take raw materials- in paint, food, or otherwise- and create something sensational. I consider all of these to be personal expressions of being artistic.
Now, you might even question the premise of what constitutes art in the first place. I actually took an interesting philosophy course (in addition to my personal inquiries), and there were many different opinions of what art actually is. For some, art is a specific way of producing artifacts or to express or communicating feelings. Plato said that art points us towards God. Tolstoy said that beauty isn’t the purpose of art and that the work of art is a failure if the audience does not react the way the artist intended.
And while the question of art in and of itself is complex enough, I would postulate that the reason creativity is so satisfying is because it connects us with something greater. It draws us outside ourselves. God is the ultimate Creator. He created everything, and since we are created in His image, when we create, we are reflecting an aspect of His character. In my humble opinion, as we seek to enjoy the created around us, we honour the Creator, and develop our God given abilities. We are utilizing our potential and expound on our cultural mandate. It gives us purpose because we are fulfilling our destiny, as Lewis says, We will never be happy until we have Christ (very loose paraphrase after a very long day).
My working theory is very much in progress, but I want to encourage you to develop yours. Is there something creative in your life that excites you when you think about it? Is there something you have always wanted to try, but have never had the courage? Take that dance class! Go to the cooking class with a friend. Enroll. Engage. Embrace life with arms wide open. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Dream. Achieve. Inspire.