Wednesday, May 23, 2012

where there is no art


For Mother's Day Jim gave me a new moleskin, blank pages, and my favorite pens.  Have you noticed that he gives perfect gifts?  Lately I am flooded with ideas.  Soaring in them, like Annie's little flying girls.  Paint all over our kitchen table.  There are not enough hours in the day.

I am trying to keep the writing plate spinning, too.  And the mothering one, yes.  Laundry.  Meals are nice.  We have decided next year to add the homeschool plate.

For now, rather than feeling overwhelmed, I am energized.  Happy.

Finally I am at a place where mothering and creating can- in some small, clumsy, messy ways- overlap.

But it isn't just circumstance.  Something has been dislodged, opened up.

For years there was no art in me.  I was bare, empty, quaking.  When we got married for a year my job was to paint, and this would have been a dream except that I had no color and I had no courage.

Creativity leans so heavily on courage . . . and not only for art making.  Creative-courage is necessary for any well-lived life: to be open to change, flux, risk, vision, experiment, generosity.  To be open to being wrong is a part of creativity.  

So, too, is a healthy spirituality.

I have been thinking of how naturally creativity reflects the spiritual journey.

I spent many years trying to exist in a firmly left-brained spirituality . .. (It was not a particular church so much as the way that many church-es tend to lean so heavily on the logic side of faith: capital T Truth).

And while I was trying desperately to adapt, I was also becoming increasingly tired.  Anxious.  Insecure. . . All enemies of creativity.

A few weeks ago I read a note from a friend apologizing for missing something, forgetting something, leaving a wrong impression at church the night before . .. and my heart just breaks for her because I so remember those waves of anxiety: I would drive home from church rehearsing- did I say something wrong?  Did I leave a wrong impression?  Was I out of line?  What did this mean? 

Beware of places where there is no art.  Whether it be churches, relationships, environments: there needs to be space for art. . . . and I use the term art in the loosest possible way . .. personality. quirks. experiment. mistakes. poetry. uncertainty. nuance. imperfection. prophecy. risk.

Beware of religion that leaves you more fearful than free.  It's not that the religion itself is bad, but that something is missing.

Just as a faith that gravitates toward the emotional/artistic//human side of faith may lack a structure or doctrinal foundation, so a faith that excludes these things may resemble all bones with no flesh.

Since moving to Cleveland we have landed in a church that blends both aspects of faith- Spirit and Truth.  There is room here for both the rational and the creative, and so too for discussion, questions, flow of life.  It is wonderfully liberating, both in my faith, and in my living.

I've had this post sitting in my drafts for weeks now, but unsure how to finish it or whether it really needed saying . . . but today I read something that drew a parallel on the reverse:

I have noticed lately a lot of discussion among women bloggers over pinterest, and I kept wondering what all the fuss is about?  Facebook I have at times found to feel unhealthy.  But Pinterest?  Pinterest is my oasis during the day, where I go for inspiration and energy.

Today Gypsy Mama wrote on facebook, "I think there are 2 types of pinterest people: those it inspires and those it tires.  I am of the latter variety."

. . . and I thought, Ah-ha!  That's it!  That is the way I used to feel in church, tired.

Thankfully church is not Pinterest, so that logical, non-creatives must shut down or force themselves to get excited about chalkboard paint.  But it doesn't have to be so logical that creative people find the air sucked out of them, either.

The church is Yes, And.  The church is Beauty and Truth.  Righteousness and Peace.  The church is Jesus, who is Freedom and Life.  Abundant Life.

Love and faithfulness meet together;
    righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,

    and righteousness looks down from heaven.

Psalm 85:10,11

1 comment:

tonia said...

Well now. This is lovely. And you've given me an aha! moment: "Beware of places where there is no art." oh my, yes. Can I just scream that from a rooftop for a moment? Thank you!

Love your painting. Love your courage.