“Every time someone asks me to testify about ‘creative spirituality’ it’s really difficult to explain it. God just works in my life in such tiny ways I can’t speak of moments but trends” I said to Maryanne in the car. My heart aware and mildly jealous at her ease at testifying to creative-spirit-driven moments.
You know how you tell you’re a little burnt out from relying on your own strength? When you feel like dropping everything you are involved in and you immediately snigger when you read the words ‘burn out’.
I blanked out at Mass, spoke pleasantries during night prayer and ranted to the husband.
I have felt like that for a while and I asked myself, and ultimately God, what is wrong with me? I stormed into the adoration room in frustration. Then stormed out again because it was cold, uncomfortable and could hardly focus on talking to God in my restlessness. How do I get myself out of this rut? I think I’ve lost myself.
Slow and steady, I can’t lose this battle.
A retreat came to steal a weekend and I was to serve as a facilitator to women older than my sisters. I recall two distinct moments. One, was a moment as I sang songs I simply enjoyed singing. Two, was praying for participants alongside Shaun. I ebbed, he flowed but together we gave all the love and comfort we could give. There was something rather satisfying about focusing on someone else entirely, I felt like I could do it all day, like I lost my irritation with myself. I wasn’t the focus here.
A session came to steal a Friday night and I was to support and share with people I knew little about. We read the scriptures and were given the task to create an art piece in 15 minutes. I grabbed some white paint which resonated with ‘holiness’ and took some paper. I painted and painted, attempting to reach every inch of the paper, though half the time I could hardly tell how much ground I was covering. I took some water and it was immediately apparent as I saw the shine reach the edges. I took some glitter paint, signifying the tiniest glimmers of heaven I might have experienced in my life and spread it across my paper, it pushed my paint further but the glitter seemed to disappear with each stroke (it subsequently got covered with the white paint which is how my God experiences feel half the time).
The woman next to me was furiously splashing her canvas with colour. Her joy evident in her expression. Compared to her, I looked like I did nothing. I had nothing to prove myself as an artist!
“The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant”, but I knew exactly what it meant. I held up my plain art piece in my hands, observing the curls of the damp paper and searched for glimmers to prove my paper was more than plain white. God told me that I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone but Him. I painted, I spread it out with all my heart and it felt like I had created the best thing ever. It also felt like I created NOTHING. Does it matter if no one can see what I have done with my life? Unsure I was comfortable with that I cradled my life in my trembling hands and surrendered to God. White for holiness, white for surrender, I give up, I lose,
God, you win.
My niece was scolded recently for not wanting to practise her piano piece. She threw herself on the sofa and wailed, her brain telling her to be obedient but her heart just wanted to have fun. I couldn’t show her how to play the piano so I carried her and tapped the chair to help her keep rhythm, I didn’t say much but I guess she just appreciated the company. She stopped throwing that tantrum.
Similarly, like a child that was disciplined but held with love at the same time, I’ll stop struggling, listen and just take small steps.