Friday, March 10, Lent Calendar* Invite: Do something artistic… sketch, color, paint, knit, whittle… ponder our creative Creator.
Children are naturally creative. They draw, color, and paint and we hang their masterpieces on the refrigerator. They build tall towers and magical cities with blocks and Legos. They take blankets and boxes and build wondrous forts.
Grown ups tend to lose too much of this creative spirit. Fear of failure, harsh criticism, and too much rational thinking lead to a reduction of creative courage. Yet we have a creative Creator who made all of creation to re-create. Ponder that for a moment. Creativity is part of what it is to be human.
Back in the day when my children were little, I volunteered, along with other parents, to teach art in their classroom. Once a month, an art intructor would come teach all of us parents the lesson. Then we would go teach it in our child’s classroom. As we adults worked on the projects, I heard a lot of self-critics, me included. “Oh, my painting is terrible.” “My sketch doesn’t look good.” “Oh my goodness, I can’t do this.” In contrast, the children were mostly just enjoying themselves. They would exclaim, “Come look what I made!”
Yesterday for 6th grade religion, I laid out paints, brushes, paper, pencils, sketch books, and cut outs. I read the students my tattered copy of Cynthia Rylant’s The Dreamer. Rylant tells the story of a young artist and his dreams. Upon finishing the book, I told my students to go create whatever their heart felt like creating. The atmosphere was peaceful and relaxed. Several of them asked, “Can we do this every week?”
It made me wonder how a regular rhythm of no-pressure creativity might calm our souls? I am not a skilled knitter. But sometimes sitting down and picking up the knitting needles and hearing the click, click while I work on a simple prayer scarf is so soothing. Mixing paint colors and brushing them across paper can be therapeutic. One time when I was working on my certificate in spiritual direction, we had art materials before us with the prompt, “What dream does God want to bring forth in you?” As we silently went about our individual creations, I was taken aback at how God spoke. Self-discovery came through my simple art.
Today you are invited to lose yourself in some therapeutic art. You might just find that God reveals something to you as you sketch, color, paint, knit, or whittle.