I noticed something a little over a year ago when doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Every November, people all over the world set a goal to write 50,000 words in a month. I love it. I turn off the perfectionist button and get together with other writers and just write.
Before NaNoWriMo last year, I was lonely. After NaNoWriMo, I was lonely. During NaNoWriMo, I was extremely fulfilled. I thought it was perhaps because of spending time with the other writers, and that does factor into it. But this year I wasn’t able to go to so many meetups. Much of my writing was at home. And I still experienced a profound joy.
The other day, my nephew and niece visited. The four year old wanted to sing “Guava Hunt” and we did, but he decided to lead. Before you know it, we weren’t even singing “Guava Hunt;” he was talking about how all the Guavas followed us into the house and showing me where they are. He was telling me that he was using his Sonic Metal Armor (whatever that is) to fight them because they won’t stick to that, which was our only hope because they are monsters covered in slimy sticky stuff, and if you touch them you’ll be stuck to them forever. Meanwhile he was jumping from the couch to the chair to the other chair because there are Gauvas on the floor.
The thing that most amazed me was how concerned he was at seeing all these Guavas everywhere. “Oh No! There’s one!” He was more into it then I ever realized he’d be. But that concern was part of his joy, his excitement at being fully immersed in this adventure, this story coming out of his mind.
I know that some people feel they are “in their own head” too much and don’t interact with people enough. We all need community. I need to be able to be helpful, and I need the support of other writers and friends, those on earth and those in Heaven. But I often am too reliant on others to make me happy, and when my heart says “write,” another part of me says, “Who’s available?” When I am brave, when I risk loneliness to pull away from people-seeking for a while and embrace my creativity, the fears are unwarranted and the experience is beyond satisfying.
We all have different experiences as children, but for most of us, they were overflowing with some form of creativity. Some painted, drew, or built with Legos, blocks, Playdoh, branches or pillows and blankets. Some made stapled books, some worked on playing an instrument, some baked various sweets, or designed clothes and rooms, or conquered free throws. Some made friendship bracelets, some designed foam-covered swords. And some found new ways to play with a slinky or created mazes or secret codes for our friends.
Children from healthy families often have the safety of engaging their creativity while knowing that they can come out of their rooms any time and be supported. Children from unhealthy families can find creativity to be a sanctuary. Even growing up somewhere in between, creativity was there. As adults, however, we can get so caught up in busyness and responsibilities, or in trying to find someone with whom to connect, that we leave creativity behind.
Creativity is a gift that we have all been given, whether we are building something from instructions or making up plays. But it is more than a gift. It is a companion of sorts, a way to learn to be friends with one’s own mind. As a child, I’d spend hours making poems and interesting valentines. And I can still choose to do this. I can dive into the mind that God gave me and find what is beautiful there. We were made in the image and likeness of the greatest creator of all time. Let’s not abandon that. What is it that you do? Do it. Who you are is such a gift, and we often forget that gift. Sure, the mind can turn inward and attack itself with horrible ideas, but when you engage in creativity, you make a point of using that same power to build beauty. Remember being a child and embrace that part of your humanity once again. It brings a very special kind of joy.
May God bless your day.