Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Feeding my Artist

My husband and I met with a common passion for the English language.  We were both writing majors in college, though he has always been a deeper writer than I.  His writing will make your head spin with emotions and new ways of looking at the world.  When I first read his poetry I used to think, I must not be smart enough to understand this, but now I know that his poetry is not intended to be understood at the brain-level; it's meant to speak to raw human emotions.  You're not supposed to use your smarts to understand; you're supposed to let go of any attempt to understand it with your head and just experience and perceive the way the chain of words make you feel. 

Circumstances have happened which have prevented me from writing like I did when we first met.  I still write.  Boy, do I write.  I write newsletter articles, sermons, prayers, e-mails, cards, grant proposals, more e-mails, Facebook statuses.  I don't write poetry anymore.  I don't write short stories anymore.  I don't even write liturgy anymore, even though it would easily fit into my job description.  It just doesn't happen.  

Maic writes every single day.  He writes poems and short stories, novellas, fiction and non-fiction, comic strips.  He writes liturgy. 

Sometimes it's painful for me to see him write.  I'm a tad jealous of him.  While he is writing about these deep, raw human experiences in rhythmic and expressive ways, I am struggling to express myself or did deeper into understanding who it is that God called me to be.  I don't want that jealousy to be misunderstood-- I am so, so proud of him for the work he puts into his writing; it's hard for me to be disciplined enough to carve out the time for it like he has learned to do.  I yearn for that self-discipline.  

I believe that I am an artist.  I don't always make the most beautiful art, but through the act of creating, God knows how to speak to my soul.  Writing, drawing, crafting, baking, painting, and even music are ways in which I'm able to understand what God wants to say to me and through me.   

So what am I getting at? 

I'm trying to say that it's no wonder that-- when I stopped writing poetry, when I stopped drawing, when I stopped making music, when I stopped baking-- my well ran dry.  

I'm not a very confident person about many aspects of my life but there are two things I can say with confidence: I'm a good mom and I'm a good pastor.  Even when my well is running dry, I can manage to find the love to give to my church and to my kids.  I can find the words to help them see God.  I can find the energy to serve.  But you can only serve and serve and serve so long before you pass out in the middle of church.  

That actually happened to me three weeks ago.  It was a tremendous wake-up call to realize that the life I was living wasn't going to be a sustainable way of life.  I can say that it was about poor nutrition and poor sleep habits and poor hydration, and that's all true and it's all stuff that I'm working on.  But there's more to it than that.  The root of this is that there is an artist in my soul who is starving.  How can I support other peoples' faith journeys when I can't even do what I have to do to facilitate my own relationship with God?  

So it's time for a new, more sustainable way to move forward.  It's time to draw and paint and write and express myself.  I don't want to make any definite promises about writing in this blog, because obviously my consistency with it comes and goes.  But I would like to look to my blog followers to hold me accountable for feeding my artist.  Pray for me, that I will make the time to create.  When you see me, ask me how my artistic endeavors are going.  Ask me what I'm working on.  Ask me when was the last time I spent some time expressing myself.  I think that's what I need to do to make sure that my marriage, my career, my soul, are able to thrive.   

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