Today, after coming home from a conference that included 8 hours of programming that my team spent probably 100 hours planning/prepping, I found myself roaming the local craft store, picking out silk flowers and a container from the 70% off section. I thought for a moment about handing them all over to one of my friends who can create AMAZING arrangements.
Flowers are not my area of expertise. Most of my creative work happens with words.
In my pastoral role, I craft sermons and prayers, I write, edit and arrange liturgy. The Holy Spirit does most of the work, but my goal with all those words to create the time and space for people to experience God, to hear and respond to the love and grace on offer. When the worship service is over, the bulletins are recycled, the sermon is digitally filed away. The words and music and people that came together in that moment, in that room, combined uniquely with the divine. And then dispersed.
As a communications director, I put words in other leaders mouths, I program conferences and meetings, I develop internal and external emails and web content. I send out tweets and status updates. I script conversations and talks. And while the content lives on in some archive or another, most of it will never be consulted again. It is for a particular audience at a particular time for a particular purpose.
Sometimes, when the work has been intense, the prep time long, and the intended audience has experienced exactly what was intended, it is hard to leave the room. The sermon that resonated. The prayer that created a membrane of set-apart-ness around the space. The conversations that moved those gathered a step or two farther down the road. When I walk away, the moment is over and the experience dissipates.
I think that is why I am drawn to the sort of creative endeavors at which I am less talented.: arranging flowers, painting. building models, taking pictures. Even my amateurish efforts produce something I can hold onto, put someplace, come back to and then touch again. Solid. Real.
And so I made a thing.
It is way short of amazing. But the colors make me happy. The fact that it will last until I decide to take it apart makes me even happier.