Valentine’s is one of those days that many hate. For couples, often one partner feels pressured to “get it right” while the other feels like he or she was ignored. For singles, there can be a myriad of feelings from longing to be in a relationship to being blissful that one is not….
Personally, I like to remove myself from this cauldron of unmet expectations and pressures and think about love in a more abstract way. Specifically, I like to think of creating as an act of love.
Creating carries the tremendous power to help us transform our lives. It assists by allowing us to organize chaos while we attempt to make something of beauty from it. For instance, when I was little, I was enamored by the fact that my grandmother could knit. I’d watch her needles clicking and her fingers looping yarn around them as a sweater began to take shape. The ultimate thrill was how something could be made from nothing – or at least from a string of yarn.
This phenomenon of creating something out of nothing constitutes the mystery and marvel of Creation itself. For something to emerge from a void or chaos is indeed a miracle. And for those of us whose lives feel shattered and whittled down to a thread, creativity becomes a force that can breathe new life and possibilities into us. Through this healing agent, we can break through stagnate situations and transcend them for as Albert Einstein once said, “Logic will take me from A to B – imagination will take me anywhere.”
Creativity is a trait inherent to all human beings. It is not something doled out to the elite or those born with special talents. Every single one of us has the seeds of creativity woven within us. It is an aspect of how we are made in the image of God for no other creature but humans and God can create. While all animals and even vegetation procreate, only humanity can conceptualize something and bring it into existence. We are the only ones who can transform the idea of a building into the splendor of a cathedral or take an emotion and translate it into a painting.
And indeed, creativity is the opposite of destruction. In an age where tensions are rising and impulse control is diminishing, we need tools that preserve life versus destroy it. When people are becoming prone to pulling triggers, we need a different type of weapon.
Given the healing properties of the creative act, perhaps it is not unusual that creation itself reflects this process too. For instance, in nature, events that appear harsh might be part of a greater master plan to form vast beauty. Who would ever have imagined that erosion of the land over millions of years could result in something as magnificent as the Grand Canyon?
Yet that fantastic feat of nature directly results from wear and tear no different than how pressure and heat make diamonds and other precious minerals. Likewise, if you live in a climate where there are four seasons, you know that by winter the landscape becomes bare and desolate. The trees appear stark and it seems everything is frozen to death. Yet underneath the ground new life will spring forth when the snow melts and the temperatures warm. When that happens the riot of beauty that ensues can literarily take our breath away.
As a young girl, I was expected to do a fair amount of gardening as a child. I wanted to rebel against this but instead found I enjoyed it. As I pulled dead leaves from shrubs, pruned and re-potted, my mind quieted until the only sound I perceived was the rustle of the wind. I discovered that cutting back limbs gave birth to new buds and pulling weeds at their stems allowed other plants to breathe. As my fingers thrust into the earth, I could feel the pulse of creation, echoing back my existence as well. And as the sun nourished the plants I tended, it also sustained me.
Because of this link to gardening, I tend to think about healing in relation to both gardening and nature. Spending hours in the garden, I began to perceive a type of wisdom inherent in creation. Although not spelled out for me, I discovered truths in what unfolded daily. Creation and the creative process itself seemed to reflect aspects of the Divine and what I perceived were expressions of God’s love. If there could be such beauty, God must exist and if new growth emerged from decay, this must be God’s regenerative grace. However, somehow we have to see beyond the dead leaves and know enough to step into the garden. We also have to get our hands dirty.
This Valentine’s Day why not make something? You can make something for someone else or make something for yourself. And you can create by yourself or with a tribe of like minded people. Both will be an act of love.