Hello creative companions,
It’s been a while! I’m not sure what season you may be in these days. It may be summer outside your window, but winter in your heart. For me, I’ve been living summer but desiring fall. Summer is extroverted! She’s lively! She’s exciting! She’s a tad… exhausting. After a while, I dream of cool mornings and warm cups of tea. I long for the rustle of leaves and the quiet harvest reaped after an active, working summer.
This on-the-go, unpredictable spirit of summertime has had my head spinning on more than one occasion. The truth is, each June, I have a hard time swapping the regularity of rhythm, intention and silence for erratic, jazzy, summer days.
Rhythm brings consistency.
Intention is the premium spice to a well-seasoned life.
Aaaaahhhhhh — silence.
Hear that? (nothingness)
YES! the exhilaration of hush.
This love for quiet goes back to my teenage years when I was given the gift of space. I’m not sure if my moods were too much to bear or if my parents sensed my desire for solitude, but, somehow, they trusted I’d be okay. In the silence of my bedroom, I journaled, created art, read, talked to friends on the phone. In the silence and safety of my bedroom, I was left to “be”. When I emerged after hours of isolation, there wasn’t guilt laid upon me. If I shared my creation, even if they didn’t “get it”, mom and dad affirmed me as a creative person.
As a young person, I took the space I was given for granted. Now, I recognize this silence and safety as imperative for creativity. But, as I grew older, quiet stretches of time shrank. When I got married and had kids, I told myself I didn’t need creative space. Instead, I said “yes” to activities. I said “yes” to leadership roles. The creative work I said “yes” to was production oriented rather than soul oriented. I starved myself from writing telling myself it was a luxury. Who was I to have luxury?
Over a decade slipped by without regularly creating. Something that is so ingrained in me, so much of who I am, was boxed up and put on a shelf in a dusty closet. While I’ve been grieving this lost time, I’ve also been rejoicing. Rejoicing for finding my creative light again. Rejoicing to God for leading me back to a path I never would have found on my own. I mean, arts and theology? Really? Who would’ve ever put those two together? Oh, yes… a Creative God.
So, now, here I am. A reemerging creative person. Desiring stillness to do this thing. Attempting to make space for inspired work during my days. And, wham! Summertime. Kids home. Rhythms rocked. Intention? Guess again! And, silence? Well, not so much. Over the summer, silence and safe spaces are hard to come by when raising two boys. It’s more like bustling activity, keeping up with house chores, spending time with friends and family — all good stuff. But, in my conflicted heart of yearning for quiet space, I keep asking God to help me enjoy this very second, this moment, this day, to see what is before me and learn from my children. In the midst of all of it, I leave you with a brief poem that sums up my summertime:
How do you write poetry with children around?
You slurp up silence in small bits,
welcome the interruption,
walk beside them as a friend,
write about their song,
wonder with their words,
worship the one who gifted you their presence.
I cringe wondering what would’ve happened if I’d been forced to participate all the time in my childhood home. Or, if my creations had been met by laughter or condemnation. I’m convinced one cannot create at a deep level when threatened by noise or judgement. Most artists, writer, dancers, songwriters are sensitive people. Noise blurs our senses. Judgement shuts us down. We simply feel. We can’t help it. It’s how we are made. A wrong look can send us whirling. A brash comment is a kick in the gut. A sad story brings us to tears. But, this very way is also our gift. It is the gift we bring to the world. To explore the soul and express it for others through words, movement, color, music. To do this, we must protect our space. Over the next few weeks, I will continue to explore space, silence, sabbath and how saying “yes” to these three “S’s” renews our life.