I love the Lenten season for the same reasons that I love creating art. I see this beautiful connection in spirituality and creativity...there's something so spiritual about discovering the creation in the paint, in the clay, in the bar of soap...in the ashes...in the sorrow. For when we clear away the clutter in our lives, we begin to simply "be" and there is art in being, there is spirituality is simply being, our simple stories are the best ones when we stop running and see the redemption in them...in the simplest of them...I think we can get wrapped up in living the best life...and it's hard not to, when we are raised to get into the best college, to get the best job, to pay our bills, to drive the best car, to have the biggest house...and then we raise our kids to do the same, we tell them to study hard, to do their best b/c they want to go places...when really, what are we saying? we place no value on simply being, on living, on seeing beauty, and seeing God's hand in everything...are we running as fast as we can toward the wrong things? are we living the wrong stories? finding our self-worth in the wrong places?
I was sitting watching some little fellas (both under the age of 3) play my piano...they had different playing styles: one played a key at a time the other banged with his fists...they both danced, hearing the music in their songs. no one taught them this, it was just in them, this song, this desire to create a song, and the ability to hear it. Of course, this has been pointed out a million times, but, the first thing God did was create...he is our ultimate healer, our ultimate physician, the mad scientist, and our CREATOR. we are his finite creations, we are as fragile as the pieces we create, we are creations.
I find that creating is something so natural to my being, I almost need it to survive, I am a better person when I am creating...so calm and so focused on the right things in life...I find that when i am creating i am not focusing on the stupid crumbs fallen on my floor perfectly visible to everyone...I am not bothered by the toys everywhere or that dinner isn't made...i am simply being as i create. carving soap is the same (see ash wed. photos below), i love the underlying message of this thing was always there (read Rob Bell's Drops like Stars), you just had to shave away some things to see it. isn't it the same in our lives? aren't some of the most painful experiences telling of who we are? aren't they shaping us into a better us? what is the whole purpose of life? is it not to draw closer on our Journey to Christ? to be more like Him? it probably has nothing to do with snowfall, slow drivers, our appearance, children's education, or the size of our house. Have you ever watched someone who is dying? their focuses are so different than ours, I see surrender in their lives and beauty. I want to live like the credits are going to roll tomorrow, I want to ask myself what it is I'd wished I'd lived for when the credits begin to roll, and I want to live for that. I wonder how my life might look differently if it were solely focused on living for Him? I wonder what kind of wife and mother and friend and daughter and stranger on the street that I'd be.