Thought for the Month (November 2013)

Feeling Low? – Get Creative!

Do you ever feel a bit low? We all do sometimes, but for some it seems to be worse than for others. The chemists and health food stores are full of things that promise to lift your mood, the bookshops bulge with self-help manuals, and most of us are lucky enough to have friends who can make us laugh and to me that is one of the best cures.

Religion is supposed to provide comfort, but does it always? Honestly? I once heard someone say that most people have just enough "religious" tendencies to make them miserable! That's not a very cheering thought. Something has gone wrong if this is the case.

We are told we are made in God's image. Right then, if we want to be more fulfilled in how we are meant to be, and hopefully therefore happier, we need to look at God. What is God like? God is a very great mystery that we cannot hope to understand fully in this life. But we know some things, and one is that God is the Creator. The evidence of His creative genius lies all around us. Some people gaze in awe at the big and tremendous things, like massive mountain ranges and the farthest stars in the galaxy. That's fine, but I prefer to look at the smaller things too. I was looking at a poppy seed-head the other day and I was struck by how sweet and domestic it looked … like a tiny pepper pot, with holes for the tiny seeds to spill from. It was perfect, but not awe-inspiring in the same way. It could have been shaped by a kindly hand. You could imagine someone drawing it first with a nice soft 3B pencil. The drawing would be accurate but not all harsh and geometric. There would be gentleness about it.

If you feel low, create! We are literally made for it. Have you ever looked at some of the pencil drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci? We all know the paintings … poor dear old Mona Lisa, rather over-rated in my opinion! Have a look instead at the drawings, or the pen and ink ones. For my money they are much better. There is one of a baby in the womb … very accurate and perfect, but somehow much more than that. The love and awe shine through. When you look at it, you start to understand that creative genius is about our common humanity, and it is a kind of sharing process with one another, and if I can dare to say it, with the ultimate Creator of all things, who wants us to enjoy creating as well.

We are not all Leonardos. But we can all create. My cousin was famed (and sometimes feared) for her knitted blankets which she would make for everyone. She reckoned all the family needed one, and they got one. Bright puce was rather a favourite shade of hers, with a dash of orange. Sunglasses were often advisable when she hove to with her knitting bag …but now she is not with us anymore her blankets are absolutely prized! And it is not all about art and craft, music or all the other activities popularly seen as "creative". To my mind that is not the half of it. You can be creative in all sorts of ways, and a lot of it is about goodwill, not talent. I have got a friend who looks at her social life in a creative way…..kind of stealthily arranging for people she thinks might just get on together to meet. It's worked and she has four friends' marriages chalked up to her credit. I call that very creative.

God bless you

Mary Nolze (Rusthall URC)

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church