I’m continuing the theme of holding on to wonder. For all the hard and challenging things we face every day, there’s still so much wonder to behold. With the heartache of the past week’s shootings, I’m realizing I not only want to hold on to wonder, I want to help create it, through things like friendship and creativity.
(This theme is inspired by the Breathe Christian Writers Conference which will be held October 9-10 and is themed “Awaken Your Wonder.” You can join us Friday evening for a session with award-winning Steven James. Click here for details.)
Sometimes I open my computer and wonder if any of this matters.
Do words on a screen make any difference when thousands of families are fleeing their home country and seeking refuge elsewhere? Does a simple blog post make any difference when gunmen walk onto a campus and cause such devastation?
Then I remembered what God did in the midst of His heartache.
He had created a beautiful, pristine world and placed people at the center to care for it. Then they betrayed Him. After He found them hiding in shame, God did something I’ve never paid much attention to before now.
He once again made something. He made clothes.
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
I’ve always viewed this as a rather utilitarian act. They were ashamed. They’d screwed up. Practically speaking, they now needed clothes.
But I think it was so much more than that. Not only does it point to the first sacrifice for sin (the clothes were made of the skins of animals), but God once again created something new.
Something very practical. Something that would cover their shame and bring a measure of comfort and healing.
Last week I attended the Story Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. This conference is like no other. Artists, writers, musicians, photographers, and videographers gather to celebrate the art of story in all its forms.
I listened in awe as Jeremy Cowart shared his story of feeling like a failure and growing up saying, “I can’t” in regards to just about everything. His parents didn’t give up and urged him on with Philippians 4:13.
Then one day he found art. And then a camera. He shared how in the days following the Haiti earthquake he traveled there to help the people tell their stories. He created the Voices of Haiti project, and the United Nations discovered it.
The U.N. printed his images in large format to display during a meeting of ambassadors. After walking down a hallway lined with Cowart’s photos depicting the stories and images of those affected by the earthquake, the U.N. ambassadors voted unanimously to send 1 billion dollars of aid to Haiti. One BILLION. That’s the wonder of creativity at work.
Abigail Washburn shared how she always thought she would be a lawyer in Beijing and would work to improve U.S./China relations. In the days before she was to leave for Beijing to start her Chinese law degree, she was offered a record deal.
She had just learned to play the banjo and only knew four songs. FOUR. She’s now toured China over a dozen times, often as an official U.S. representative on a cultural tour. She said she’s been able to do more for U.S./China relations with her music than she ever could have done with her law degree. That’s the wonder of creativity.God often uses the language of creativity to bring healing to His hurting world.
Hands that fashion clothes or make a meal.
A story that speaks truth in a way we can’t otherwise understand.
Photos that speak the need for aid more than any political speech could deliver.The next time you sit down to create something. Don’t doubt. Just make.
And if you think you aren’t creative; you’re wrong. Look at the power of creativity.Only an enemy would convince you that you have nothing to offer the world.
Go make something. Whatever it is, no matter how small or large the impact–it matters.