Mako Fujirama paints and speaks and writes. He’s a creative guy, and a couple years ago he spoke at a University for commencement or baccalaureate or something of that nature… I was by far more interested in what he had to say. It was a simple question that I think delves at the root of what it means to be human: What do you want to create today?
One of the essential elements of the Christian God is usually left out in our framing of the image of God we’re looking for in humanity. Just, merciful, loving, all those are important, but creativity, the spark of imagination that allows us to see and hear things in a joyful way and respond freely, that get’s left out on the side of the road somewhere.
But it’s part of who we are, and as much as we create unbending rule followers and grammar nazis, we loose an essential part of who we are as human beings created in the image of God. I’m not saying that the rules of order don’t exist for a purpose, but it is within those rules with the proper imagination that we can see the seeds of incredible joy and delight.
The Sonnets find strict form as the essence of freedom to express.
Physics, mathematics? Those help us see and create, move and observe – to see what’s around us and ascribe meaning to it.
Grammar even offers us the chance to clearly communicate the joy and wonder that we can encounter in this world.
Creativity is a freedom to see, to move, to shape, and to make with what we have in front of us. Imagination is a quasi-faculty that allows us to engage meaningfully in the world. It part and parcel of an ascetic that loves God, neighbor, self, and creation.
Yet we always risk stifling it. Mako tells of the struggles of high school students to answer the question: what do you want to create today? Why did they struggle? Because they’ve been using guidelines set down by everyone else for so long they had no idea how to discover their own impulse to create.
I wonder how much this holds us back in liturgy. Let alone all the other areas of life where creativity and joy are so closely linked. But with time, we can keep asking the question and keep looking for the answer and the path to create and take on the full image of God.