Sometimes at night I wake up in horror, dreaming about the sound of a metronome clicking back and forth, back and forth. My mom was convinced that piano lessons would be the thing that made me an intelligent, cultured and well rounded human being. For that reason, I hated Tuesdays. Every week for five years, I dragged my feet behind me as I walked from the car to Mrs. Binder’s house.
I would sit on the bench, in a crowded back bedroom as the metronome counted. And every week was the same. Mrs. Binder would be compassionate at first, “Can’t you hear that, Abby?” I would nod, just hoping the thirty minutes were almost over. I would continue playing, and Mrs. Binder’s patience inevitably diminished. “LISTEN! Abby, LISTEN! Can’t you hear it?” And then in 4/4 time should would repeat, “Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen.”
I was listening, and I couldn’t hear the problem. After five years of lessons, I walked away knowing that I had no rhythm.
In 5th grade, for some reason, I thought singing would be easier than piano. I walked out on a limb, and auditioned for an honor’s choir. Every single one of my classmates made it into the choir, except me. Every person who tried out was given this amazing opportunity, except me.
Mr. Newby told me that I had no musical talent. The message was loud and clear.
In my 7th grade art class, I was brushing bright yellows petals, with deep, black centers on a piece of paper. In front of the entire class, the teacher walked by and told me that I was not an artist. I’m sure she meant well. I’m sure that she didn’t want me to out in some other humiliating way. In a way more humiliating than a room full of my adolescent peers with perked ears, covering their mouths while they snickered.
She made her point. I had no artistic ability. Fortunately for me, that was the last year of mandatory art.
In those first twelve years I learned that I had no rhythm, musical talent or artistic ability.
My sister, on the other hand, has rhythm, musical talent and went to college to study art. She sings, plays instruments, draws, paints, sculpts and designs.
She is creative. I am not.
That’s what I have believed most of my life. I have believed that there are people who are creative, and there are people who are not. For decades I have labeled myself as “not a creative person”. And I know a lot of people who describe themselves this way. If someone can’t draw, dance, design, decorate or dress themselves and so they don’t think they are creative.
It is only recently I have realized how mistaken I’ve been.
I get stuck in thinking that I am not creative, and I get caught up in consuming. I consume media, art, books, relationships and food. I take and I take and I take, and I don’t give anything back. I fail to realize all of the ways that I have been designed to create and contribute to the world, not just gorge myself on all the world has to offer.
I forget that God is Creator. God has designed everything down to the most intricate detail while simultaneously plotting out the picture of the whole universe. Everything has been touched, held, molded and created by God with extraordinary attention to detail. From sunrise to starry sky, winter to summer, darkness to light. There is a rhythm, a tone and artistic design that makes up the foundation of the world, and it is hard wired in each one of us.
I am creative.
You are creative!
How can you begin to create more than you consume?
What have you been made to bring to the world? What is the thing the world misses if you are not using your creativity?
How do you bring beauty and life and joy to the creation? Are you a baker? Are you an organizer? Are you a mom or dad? Are you a painter or a poet? Are you a writer or a speaker?
Do you repurpose? Reclaim? Restore? Recycle?
How do you use your hands for the beauty of the earth?
Share with us! We all need inspired.
We are all creative.