A few months ago I got married to the best man I’ve ever known. At a barn in Wisconsin. It was a beautiful day in October. The only beautiful day in October, actually. It was a blessed occasion – not the least of which was because of all the help and encouragement I had received in preparation.
Leading up to the wedding, I spent many late nights making things by hand – cutting, folding, and pasting library card pockets to be included in the invitation, measuring and cutting burlap for the table runners, rolling and dipping wool into scalding hot water and then numbing cold water to make “billy balls” for flowers, sewing clutches for all my bridesmaids (even though I’d never used a sewing machine without the supervision of my grandmother, and even that was nearly twenty years ago). The list goes on. Sometimes I needed help – and my friends were more than willing, even though they often made this disclaimer: “I’m not very creative.”
Most of those projects deserve a post of their own, so I will leave the details until a later time. Needless to say, though, that the whole process prompted me to think a lot about what it means to be creative. And the question:
What is Creativity?
In my mind creativity is not limited to the artistic pursuits that we often associate it with – the visual: painting, drawing, photography, graphic design. Those things are certainly creative, but they are not the whole measure of artistry. Could not a perfectly baked bundt cake, an original poem, or even a thoughtful gift be creative? I would argue then, that most of us are creative in one way or another. Perhaps we can’t cook to save our life, but we can stand up in front of a crowd and deliver a witty line that gets people laughing. Perhaps our paintings are abysmal, but we can look at a messy room and see just how it should be organized (can’t that be a creative process?!).
We all have been given gifts. And we all have things we do that bring us joy – even better if they bring those around us joy. I love to make good food. Although I often try my hand at other things (with varying success and commitment), I always get drawn back to the kitchen. And I experience even more pleasure when I make something to share with others. We need to get in touch with those gifts we’ve been given; and more importantly use them. It’s then that we become fuller versions of ourselves and a blessing to others.
So that’s it. Creativity is bigger than we give it credit for. It’s whatever gift we bring to the world. And it’s at the heart of all good things. Of course, all I really know is my own experience. So much of the time my life feels mundane – I can get stuck. But here’s to my new adventure: that of finding All Good Things in my life.