I would rise above my house, look down on my roof, at it's angles and junctions, then higher, to see how my small life fits with that of my neighbors, with that of all other residents of my city.
I would whirl around the spires of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, limestone and granite, stained glass and lightning rods, reaching upward as I climb upward, and there, at the top, I would roost with the pigeons, saying, "Coo, coo, too, too cool!"
I would sail over the foothills seeking snow-laden Ponderosa pines, swoop and swing beneath their branches, head up to treeline, inhale the pure cold, accompany a snowborder on a steep downward run, spiral upward with the smoke from a cabin wood stove, up, up, dizzy with freedom.
God reaches out to us through all aspects of creation.
Be still. Be receptive.
"I shall send you this dog," God says, "for you to love and cherish, care for and train and learn from. Watch her this day. What am I saying to you through the beauty of this singular creature? What will you learn of loyalty and forgiveness, of presence and acceptance?"
"I shall send you this cat," God says, "for you to welcome and protect, nurture and respect and treasure. Observe him this day. What am I saying to you through the grace of this unique creature? What will you learn of tenderness and awareness, of immediacy and wonder?"
Last week, after months of abnormally warm and dry weather, (leading to a drought) we finally had an overcast day with blissfully cooler temperatures, rain and snow.
That evening, a newscaster described the day as "cold, wet and gloomy."
And I said, "All day long I enjoyed this day as cold, wet and cozy. Why did she choose the term gloomy?"
Something in her experience (conditioning, up-bringing, enculturation) has taught her that. And she bought it.
But think of a child waking up that morning, looking out at the snow. The child doesn't think, "It's cold, wet and gloomy." The child looks out with delight, "It's snowing!" The child not only accepts what is as right and good, but is eager to enter into the new experience of this different day.
"See like a child," says Jesus, "and enter heaven."
So next time you wake up and it's rainy or snowy, try one of these:
"It's cold, wet and cozy." "It's cold, wet and brooding." "It's cold, wet and sweetly melancholic." "It's cold, wet and nurturing."
The truth is, almost every job allows for creativity some of the time. Even the process of juggling multiple tasks-- which most of us are called to do-- requires innovation; you're probably more creative than you think.
But for most of us, being creative isn't the focus of our work; we're there to get as much done as quickly as possible.
And for many of us, to create simply for creation's sake is a luxury we squeeze in around the responsibilities of work, home, relationships and health, if we squeeze it in at all.
Yet we all know the power of creativity, the freedom, the flow, the joy, the passion.
I have time for that now. I have time for photography, for cooking, for arranging things at home, for cross stitch (which I set aside for decades*), for writing...
Even the process of reclaiming my home office (which has involved shredding, cleaning straightening up, organizing and re-imagining) has been a satisfying creative process-- the making of art, if you will.
The bigger point is this: we all need room for creativity, "need" as in the need for air, food and companionship. With it, we flourish, and we're better prepared to reach out to others with a fuller heart and clearer spirit.
Don't wait for retirement!
*The photo shows one of a half-dozen pieces I cross-stitched 30 years ago or more and kept in my desk drawer. A few weeks after retiring, I matted and framed several of them.