Gone Coastal

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

On the horizon ... continued

When I posted a couple of weeks ago about our little flightseeing trip, I had, as always, more to say, but I was running out of time and the second part was important enough to me to wait until I found time to do it right. I still have much on my to do list today, but the baby's sending signals that he or she's going to want out pretty soon. Knowing it may be awhile after the arrival before I have time for much more than baby updates, I'm putting this on my priorities this morning. Besides, it doesn't involve lifting or bending or assembling or scrubbing.

Some of my artistically inclined friends out there have shared a bit here and there over the last year or two in explorations of what it means to be a Christian artist and what we are to do about it. One of the common threads that has come up is simply making it happen - whatever it is, particularly when it's not our primary vocation.

For various practical reasons, including a long job search, a move to a new city, a (great) new job, and a smaller living space (rented until fairly recently), much of my artistic pursuits and the stuff that goes with it has been boxed away and put in deep storage for some time. In many ways, I was tempted to turf a lot of it completely. One long unfinished project that followed me down here - at least in storage - became a kind of trigger point for my frustrations. Every time we went to the locker and I had to move that piece out of the way, part of me wanted to just get rid of it - I was never going to finish it anyway.

And yet, somewhere there was a nagging sense that the talents and interests I was burying were in fact gifts, and that they needed to be brought back to light where they could grow. And of course there's something about pregnancy and the prospect of bringing up a new life that makes you step back and look at your priorities anew.

So a couple of months ago, I was on my way home from some early Saturday errands, and pulled into the Christian bookstore on the way home. I picked up a book that caught my attention, "The Creative Calling", and brought it home, where it naturally sat on a shelf, untouched except for a brief scan of the contents. By the back cover, the book was aiming to reach out to those felt they had a creative calling, but had either never developed it, weren't sure what exactly it was, or had set it aside.

When I started my leave, I picked the book up again and liked what I read. I'm currently working my way through the book, which has some great exercises to help you think through what your calling means, the place of your gifts, and to start taking steps toward making things happen. I find myself being challenged to answer some tough questions for myself. I've also been trying to at least establish certain habits, like keeping an artists daybook, before baby's arrival so that I have a better chance of continuing this journey through the course of my leave.

Anyhow, all that is to say that I'm hoping to return some of the gifts God has given me to their rightful place, to experience again that sense of balance that comes from following His lead in these areas of passion rather than subjugating those passions to the responsibilities and duties of a mundane self-contained life. And I hope to be able to share some of that journey with all of you here.

And what has this to do with flightseeing? As I said in the earlier post, it had been a long time since the Bear had done any flying. For many of the same reasons as my artistic pursuits, his flying and flight training had been shelved. But like my creative passions, his love of flying is something that stirs him in his core. And there have been a number of events and coincidences over the years that point to his abilities behind the yoke being also a gift, and one that is meant to be nurtured and submitted to God for his purposes, however they may be revealed. And I've found in starting through the book 'The Creative Call' that there is much that applies to any gifting or talent.

So I've been sharing some of the insights from the book with the Bear, and encouraging him to apply them. We're praying together for each others' journeys, and hopefully together we can learn more and keep each other accountable to our commitments as well. I'm also hoping some of my other artist friends (you know who you are) may join me as they're able so we can lift each other up.

And so a journey begins. Or perhaps just resumes. Happy trails.


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