My morning pages prompt for today “what is a new hobby or activity you want to try?” I’ll be reflecting more on the call-outs and insights I gleaned today. I don’t follow the strict morning pages rule from The Artist’s Way, but I do write every morning. Sometimes it’s stream of consciousness with no prompt, but most of the time, I use a guide to help my thoughts along.

I really want to learn macramé. I like the way it looks and it seems like the process of starting with an empty loom, going through the tying of knots and ending with a beautiful finished piece would be exciting, relaxing and life-giving. Like sermon-writing. I wonder if my art journal and my process of looking for a craft I can do to give me joy and express myself have all been about missing preaching.

I miss the art of beginning with a blank page and an open heart, the life blood of studying and poring over commentaries, the craft of observing life and applying it to the text being carried in my heart and mind, the joy of delivering the fruits of my labor on Sunday morning after a Saturday of tweaking and finally letting go.

Creating is what I’m meant to do. Whether it’s crafting a sermon, making art, writing reflections, activism through writing; whether it’s creating a program, or cooking a beautiful, delicious dish, I am meant to create. That’s the unique image of God that I carry inside me. I’m a creative. With that, comes impulsivity, sensitivity, over-reaction, passion, inflexibility and perfectionism; but also flexibility, imagination, idealism, and hope.

In my sermons and my art, I can write about or draw despair and hold it and sit with and in it, and then lace it with hope – an encouraging word stuck carefully in a cadence honoring lament, a fine paper flower placed intentionally in a barren forest. In my work, I can hold the deaths across the healthcare system in my heart – their names swirling in my mind when I can’t sleep. I lead grief groups and field phone calls and requests for assistance and support following a death, and I hold those griefs and sit with the bereaved, and lace our time together as I reflect and ponder, with hope and meaning; and a commitment to honor those whose lives have ended and the people they leave behind, by not making my work so much about myself that I get so overwhelmed with all the death that I forget to live.

I’m not so calloused not to weep for what has been lost, not so self-important to willingly neglect joy.

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