For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
I find it interesting how, when life-things spiral into an otherworldly place, unexpected creativity seems to always come along for the ride.
Which was exactly the case this summer as I spent my days navigating the unpredictable waters of childhood cancer treatment, silently including caring for the emotional tornadoes that are preteen and teenage siblings, checking in on a marriage that we have to just trust will make it through, and keeping my own self from shattering. The emotional depth that inherently comes with all of this caretaking has become, for me, the fuel for my creativity. And so I found that, in the quiet down times (and once on a drive into Dana Farber) I felt compelled to write.
I know you all well enough at this point to make the statement that I am not alone in my extreme circumstances. I’ve seen you too experience the chaos of an unexpected familial death, diagnosis, or mental health emergency. I’ve wandered with you into those depths of wonder and widened perspective. I’ve witnessed your new found sight – a sight that sees life and death and life everlasting in a new light.
In our efforts to make sense of it all – or maybe just to record the divine insight? – some of us turn to art.
I’ve always known art to be a window to Divine wisdom. We are warned in the scripture to keep our idolatry of words in check. That The Word – God’s Word – is more than just the words originally passed orally from generation to generation, then scribed on parchment, and then compiled into a single bible. The Word is the experience that created these words, the emotions behind them, the relationships around them.
In short, The Divine Truth, the Christ, transcends simple words – which is why creativity and art become essential. Dance, music, sculpture and painting. And creative writing.
But wait! Writing IS words! True, but also writing is imagining and metaphor and storytelling. Jesus knew he could not translate God’s truth with simple “do this” and “do that” statements. And so he drew pictures with his words and actions, telling stories that drew on emotions and history and culture, to present an utterly counter culture message that would hold its relevance for all of eternity. Even today, as we gather together in worship hearing again the stories of our tradition, we are called to wander into the depths of our own lives taking with us the fears, compulsions, graces and insights of our long ago ancestors.
All of this is to say that writing, for me, while not scripture, is evidence of my wandering through this expanding faith perspective. It is my attempt to find meaning in the midst of everything changing. It’s where I can look into my faith and find hope.
And I want to share some of this with you! Early in September I launched a blog project, Parables of Hope which can be found at www.parablesofhope.org. So far, the pieces that I’ve published here have everything to do with Gabe’s cancer and our experiences navigating the emotions that fill in around and within his treatments and appointments. As time moves on, however, the themes of my entries will be more typical-life focused though will continue to seek hope through theological reflection on elements of the world around us.
God showed us the value of creativity in God’s original creation – of the sky and the sea, the earth and life and of humanity. Through our own creating may we know God in deep and faithful ways. And may we hear God’s blessing: It is good.
PS… If you sign into the website you will receive an email when a new post has been published. Alternately, look up Parables of Hope on Facebook and Instagram.