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The creating life

Creative people. Creative types. You know those people. The right-brained oddballs, who dress funny and speak funny and are just out there, you know? As much as I hate to admit it, I have labeled them this way. It’s an adjective I have used for those I am a bit jealous of because they have something I don’t have and are something I can’t be. I use it as a descriptor, a label, a separator.

Recently, I came across the phrase “the creating life”… and I like it. It’s an approach to life that looks for ways to grow things. To make things more lovely, more meaningful, more effective, more productive, more whole. Perhaps to add to what comes along or maybe just to shuffle things in their places or offer an alternative point of view. It’s lively, abundant and fruitful.

And it’s a verb. It’s active. It’s present tense. It’s something I can do and keep doing. It seeks and, by its very nature, it finds. It seems a very good way to live.

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Have you ever painted a sunset?

Some of my fondest memories of my youngest daughter are the times we used to paint the sunset. She was probably about three years old, and whenever we spotted a sunset, we’d pull out our imaginary paintbrushes and paint, together.

We’d make flourishes with our brushes, in oranges and yellows and reds. And then we would dab a bit of blue or purple or gold. Of course, we didn’t produce any colors, really. But we’d say them. “There’s a little purple!” And we’d brush. “Don’t miss the red.” And we’d brush again. It was almost as if we were chasing the colors together. And there was no dipping into paint on a palette. There was simply stroking with the brush. Sort of sketching with the colors that were already there.

I miss those days. When my little one would come get me “to paint the sunset.” Because I saw it differently when I painted it with her. She had a child’s eyes, artist eyes, that see and then jump in to be part of the scene. No preparation. No gathering supplies. And absolutely no reservation. All she needed was there to participate in the beauty she saw.

Participate in beauty. Perhaps that’s what we’re meant to do always. That’s Kingdom work, a royal calling of celestial proportions. To dab with paintbrushes always at hand. To distribute color already present. Or shade and blend what’s already been applied. To re-create what God has put before us.

Guess that makes me a re-creational artist. My medium is words. But somehow color words are insufficient to paint a sunset.

Perhaps one day I might overhear my daughter’s child say, “Mommy, look! Come paint the sunset.” And she will have spoken a memory, and a vision and a connection she doesn’t know is there. And my daughter and I will slip back into those days for a moment, and remember. No need to explain. Why use words when a smile and a nod will do?

God has so many ways of expressing Himself, doesn’t He?

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