How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. –Annie Dillard
We are each artists of the lives we’ve been given.
Each morning we wake to a new set of moments that are crafted from our choices and commitments, loves and disappointments, joys and pain.
But they still have possibility.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be artists of the our days. Slow down. Attend to the present moment. Focus on one task or activity at a time, as much as possible.
One of the most delightful aspects of my job with theology students was hosting Sabbath Space. Each Wednesday and Thursday, students come to a stain-glass and candle-lit chapel to feast on crayons, colored pencils, coloring sheets, and anything else I can find to tempt them to stop, take a risk and play for a moment.
Most of my students were right-brain starved on their academic diet of dense theological and philosophical texts, weary from wrestling with justice issues, or just tired from the frenetic pace of life. They come in, took a deep breath as they sat down at the craft table, and for 5 minutes or 3 hours, they experienced the eye of the storm. The art product was secondary–it was the moments of attention that they paid to the project at hand, choosing medium, colors, getting their hands and hearts involved, that gave rest.
Rest was also found through the moments of attention that others at the table extended to each other, “How are you? How are classes? What a beautiful color choice!” Some students started talking as they walked in, grabbing a blank piece of paper and random pencil, shapes and designs soon punctuating their narrative.
Something beautiful happened in Sabbath Space, but most who participated would not call themselves artists. Rather than focusing on production, I saw students gingerly walk or wildly run into their creative hearts, finding healing to take back into the rest of life.
Fittingly, the large, beautifully carved table used for creating and conversing in Sabbath Space was also used for a weekly community feast of the Lord’s Supper. Different gatherings, but both means of grace, renewal, and communion.
Practice: You are an artist and the moments, activities and relationships of today are your medium. What can you and the Holy Spirit create? Get some crayons out, a piece of paper, and spend a pomodoro (25 minutes) coloring. I guarantee you will smile, especially if you include your favorite young person.