We were gathered around the table in the Laity Lodge dining hall when the writer beside me asked us the question: “Do you live a creative life?”
I knew what she meant. She was asking how we pursue creativity in days packed with rote and routine, with sudsy sinks, gray cubicles, spreadsheets on the desk, bedsheets tumbling in the dryer.
Where is the creativity in this life?
I lifted a fork to my mouth. I knew how I wanted to answer the question. I wanted to tell her how I believe that we are all creatives, imbued with the Spirit to make beauty from beauty. I knew this in my head; I want to live it in my heart.
I am made in the image of God; therefore, I am artist.
I am creature of Creator; therefore, I co-create.
Home now, I remember the question. I am relearning that art and creativity are inescapable. Every time we rearrange furniture or set a table or fill a vase, we are making art.
My daughter Anna told me last night, as she watercolored: “The art teacher told us that the very best artist in the world is the one inside of you.” She pointed at me.
“And the one inside of you.” She pointed at her sister.
“And the one inside of me.” She pointed at herself.
I want to love the artist in me. My girl in pigtails gets it. Dear God, don’t let the world rinse the Truth out of her.
Intuitively, she knows that God values the artist. God values art so much that He went to the trouble of involving another part of the Trinity in the craftsmanship of holy places. (See Exodus 31).
“… I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts — to make artistic designs .. to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.”
— Exodus 31:3-4
The Spirit of God brings a powerful new dimension to the work of the artist. He enlivens our creativity with his Spirit.
Holy Creator, Let me co-create with you.
In the dining hall at Laity Lodge, I did finally answer her question. “All of life is inherently creative, I think.”
I took a bite, tasting a chef’s art, flavor exploding on these tastebuds. I scanned the table, where knives and pottery were arranged, just-so, by a waitress. Dare I say, by an artist? Light slanted on ice prisms in water glasses, a crystal-blue dance.
I saw how someone had set apples and upended bananas in a large bowl. An accidental fruit sculpture?
Outside, the Creator’s centuries-ago artwork stood as chiseled rock on rock. An inky sky twinkled like an upset jewelry box.
And the Creator had filled an entire dining hall with artists. And not just the painters and the poets and the book authors and the songwriters. But also the chef. And the lodge hostess. And the waiters who picked up dirty plates from the left, and set down clean ones on the right — a tableside waltz.
The dining hall was a God Gallery, and we were the framed masterpieces. In the corner of our soul-canvases, He penciled this: 1/1. No duplicates available.
All around us, art.
All within us, a creative life.
among the created,
among the co-creators.
But do I really live the answer to her question? Do I really live a creative life? I think that I am only beginning to see again.
Related: How to Know if You’re an Artist
Worth checking out: Troy McCullough, a friend from my college days, is sharing his art over at The High Calling Focus this week. Troy is now a news editor with The Wall Street Journal and is a freelance photographer. Check out his layered photos here. Gorgeous art!