The other day I told a friend a weird thing I do: when I’m super busy, overwhelmed with the amount of work I have and the little time I have to do it in, I take on more work. Not other huge projects necessarily, but smaller ones.
I’ll say yes to writing a blog post that I can plunk out in less than two hours (two hours that I really don’t have, but still…). I’ll decide that night is the night to make a lasagna and bake fresh batches of double-chocolate chip cookies. I’ll realize that after a full year of wondering, yes indeedy I should empty that bookshelf and move it to the other side of the room.
In each of these I create work for myself when I’m overwhelmed with work. This is the part that I thought was odd. Until I used the word create in that conversation with my friend. And then it all made sense.
I have a long history of wanting to create when life gets difficult. Wanting is even too weak a word—it’s a longing, really. A need. Something I must do to get through. To survive.
Creating—through writing, cooking, baking, rearranging, planting—helps me make sense of my life, of what’s going on in it.
In Grumble Hallelujah, I explain my desire to create—and specifically, to create laments—like this: “God gave us art and creative abilities because we are made in his image and the first thing he was for us was our Creator. But I think art exists so that we can cry out, grieve, mourn, and understand what God is up to, just as much as it does to celebrate the wonders of this world. When you hear of artists ‘pouring’ themselves into their art, it’s the emotions—good or bad—that are being referred to. And often, I think desperation is what drives artists to their art. Whether a desperate love. A desperate ache. A desperate question. A desperate need.”
I wonder who else finds that to be true. Would love to hear about it.