Elul 26

I’ve been thinking about creation quite a bit, because there’s this blog, and I’ve been writing, and writing is a form of creation, so I’ve been creating stories and essays. That makes me a creator, I guess. Oh, not like God. Who created the whole universe in 7 days. As opposed to me, who takes 7 days to create a math worksheet. God does it better, you know? Still, I create. I make new things that weren’t there before exist. I bring them into the universe and change the fabric of the world around me just the teeniest bit with my writing.

I think it’s amazing, really, that we have the power to create. We take the most simple things – little sounds made by striking things on other things, marks left by one material on another, strings that tie up together – and we turn them into music, painting, writing, weaving, sewing, and so on. We seem driven to do this, to put the Lego pieces of the universe together. Each time we do, we transform the universe.

It took me a while to realize what I could create. It’s not always obvious. For a long time, I figured that I was simply not creative. I always did better in the maths than in the arts after all. I was a left-brain (that’s how science used to describe things as I grew up,) analytical, systematic sort of person, and while I could construct following a set of instructions, I couldn’t create. Over time, however, I saw tons of ways in which I could and did act creatively, and wondered how I could have missed it.

First, even the most basic tasks are tiny creations – when I clean, I create order out of chaos, beauty out of mess. Then, something properly constructed according to plan *is* a creation – it takes skill to put it together and makes me a collaborator with the person who made the plan. So, when I cross-stitch, put a math formula together, play a board game – these are creative activities too. I also create with words. It looks like my brain has both halves after all, because I can certainly put words together to present ideas. Finally, I create with people. I build friendship and family, relationships and loving connections. That’s part of the point of my writing, and anything else that I do too.

It’s a big responsibility. Oh, I realize I’m writing primarily for myself. My readership is 6 people and a dog (and that guy in Spain – I don’t know who you are, but keep reading; you make my stats page more interesting). Nevertheless, I made a commitment to those people that I would create – and so I must, and must attempt to do a decent job.

Sometimes, I don’t. I fritter away that ability to create. Instead of putting words together to make a beautiful new part of the universe, I consume – I sit back, and enjoy other people’s creations, not as an active participant but as a passive receiver. It’s tempting, because it’s easier. There’s no responsibility, no chance of doing a lousy job, no chance of disappointing those who are expecting my creation to be good. It’s a trap, though, because I do have that responsibility, and when I just consume, I am automatically failing at what I’m supposed to be doing; I’m automatically disappointing those expecting more from me.

The only way out of that trap is to accept the mantle of a creator, and to realize that the point isn’t to do it perfectly, it’s just to do. Flowers and people aren’t perfectly symmetrical – they have differences and blemishes, and we appreciate that. If God can get away with being an imperfect creator – well, so can I. I don’t need to just be another consumer; the world has enough of those. Together, God and I, we will continue to create and transform the universe for the better.


Posted on September 13, 2015, in Elul and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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