Three years ago, my wife had a stroke and ended up in a rehab center. Everything seemed awful and I didn’t know what was going to happen. This crisis tanked the small business I was attempting to get off the ground, so we had no money. As she traveled through the medical system, there were times I only saw dollar signs when a nurse walked through her room’s door. For the first few nights, I worried that I would leave the facility and never see her again as we’d had a friend who’d improved enough to be transferred to a rehab center and then died very early in her treatment there.
But I was also filled with hope when I arrived and she was working with the physical therapists, taking steps and climbing stairs. When she showed off making a bed or getting into the shower or putting together a cup of tea, I smiled and felt so proud of her progress.
And I even found moments of laughter in those dark times. A posse of students test-driving the electric wheelchairs on the driveway of the facility as I watched from the deck. The roommate who declared that she hated Stephanie and, in the next breath, was shocked to discover that she even existed. My favorite of the roommates declared that she only drank coffee IN JAIL! So forceful!
Throughout all of it, I continued finding ways to express myself creatively. I knit and wrote. I relayed news of Stephanie’s condition with funny little stories from the hospital. I knitted so many stitches on a new sweater design. I worked on personal essays. I started a new sock design.
Creativity Saves Us
Creative expression saves us in our darkest moments. Imagination allows us to see a better world and a better time. We can write that better time, act out that new ending, knit up a hat for a gift, make a piece of jewelry that celebrates the holiday season, paint a canvas capturing just the right color.
During these tense days, our expressions of creativity will carry us through. They will release the tension, bring us together, and help us shout our feelings to the world.
Are you a writer? Write that story you want to read but don’t think you’re talented enough to write.
Designer? Design that piece you’ve been wanting to see for the longest time.
Artist? Let yourself loose with bright colors and bold shapes and crazy dreams.
Crafter? Indulge in that thing you’ve been saving for something special – the expensive skein of yarn, the yard of silk, the glossy lacquered photo album.
Actor? Work on that monologue – you know the one. It’s not age or gender or skin appropriate but it stole your heart.
Be An Outlaw
Your creative exercise for this week? Be an Outlaw. Pick your most indulgent, treasured, precious idea and begin. Drop your other projects! Swing into this new idea and plunder it like a swashbuckling archaeologist, digging through the tomb for treasures.