In this hectic season of early motherhood, I’m drawn to books on nurturing creativity. I struggle in my heart (probably along with most mothers of preschoolers!) to validate my daily efforts at homemaking, mothering, cooking and discipling as true creative endeavors, although in my head I do know that’s what they are.
I’m hungry for time to exercise my writing and composing, but all I can find are leftover scraps in the margins… and some days they are so tiny and I am so tired, it just doesn’t feel worth it.
But I order yet another book on creativity, ask my Mom to forward it across the ocean. It sits on my desk for months after it arrives, and I keep making promises to it every time it catches my eye. They’re really promises to myself, my creative self. I will engage. I will pick you up and tend to you. Just not yet.
Last week, I thumb through it, make friends with it. What kind of commitment will this one require?
But it turns out to be the good kind of friend. Steeped in the Holy Spirit and truth, it’s a gentle book I can pick up or put down at will. This week I’m beginning chapter 3, exploring my creative history - which periods in my life was I most creative, and why? What’s blocking my creativity now?
Sheer lack of time and energy, I think, with a hollow laugh. In this season of my life, there just doesn’t seem to be enough to go around. Is it even worth it to try and pursue these “other” gifts, amid all my other more urgent responsibilities?
But, as I just told my almost-six-year-old, who woke up too early and came in while I was writing this post:
“Mommy, what are you doing?
“Just... writing. I need to write for the health of my soul.”
I need to write for the health of my soul. That’s the bottom line. I’m finally figuring it out.
“How do you spell 'Jesus'?” he asks, after seeing the word “just” in the sentence above (he’s still standing at my elbow, looking over my shoulder). With a chuckle, he imitates the fast clickety-clack of my fingers on the keyboard, and then observes, “It’s good that your computer has lights [my keyboard is backlit]… then you can see in the dark!”
My second son is up shortly order, and I send them both back to bed with iPods to listen to Bible verse songs or the Jesus Storybook Bible… I grasp at a few more quiet minutes.
I hear the third one, imperious in her crib - “Mmmmmah? Mmmmmah?” I go pick her up, and here she is now in her pink fleece sleeper - blinking on my lap like a downy owlet, grasping my bread and reaching for my tea as I type. She takes little mousy bites of the bread clutched in her fist, makes little tasting noises, smacking her lips. Sighs with satisfaction. Mommy’s lap, and bread.
The day has begun.
Time to make breakfast. And time to be thankful for a post and a half written between devotions and pancakes… enough to be going on with today.