Confession: There's one room in my house I never finished moving into-- uhem... a year and a half ago. Oh, I by turns made it presentable when I had to, but it's never been my space. (Which is a shame because the space was intended to be my sanctuary-- a beachy themed room with the loveliest light blue walls where I would write and think deep thoughts and create. Maybe even do yoga if I felt extra rowdy.) There were boxes I never unpacked, and the things I wanted were not where I could easily access them. And lately, in effort to keep other parts of my house clean (or to get it company ready), it's become a storage facility for stuff I didn't have time to deal with. It was always a project for "one day".
Today was finally the day, courtesy of an unexpected snow-in. Well, that... and a fierce need to be creative. I was an artist in my pre-preacher life. Not in a professional way, though I entertained the notion for a little while. But in a way that I saw things in a creative way, with big bold colors and strokes of inspired imagination. I painted and drew and took pictures and designed a quilt or two. I wrote. But somehow, over the last few years, I've blocked that piece of me off. I've done other things with my time. I've been sort of remaking myself. I've been intentional about both growing up and growing young. Those things take a lot of energy I guess.
But the creative energy is resurfacing--and has been clawing to get out for the last few months. I've longed to paint things with vibrant colors and alive energy. I've wanted to play with messy and dramatic charcoals. And to dot myself to death with stipling. I've wanted to actually print some of the pictures that have been living in my computer for years. And I want more than ever what I've always wanted: to write.
I made myself a deal. If I would clean up my blue room, I would allow myself to buy some fun new art supplies. I'd buy a lamp for my drawing table. I'd quit telling myself that I'm not creative or that I don't have time for it or that I don't miss it.
So I did it. I really did it. I cleaned the room-- and threw away tons of stuff that had just never been dealt with, or things that no longer suited me. I cleared away clutter on my shelves and desk. For the first time in years, I opened my art bins. I sorted markers and gathered up the cheap pens I'd never use for any serious writing. I threw away brushed that I hadn't taken care of, or ones that just didn't feel right in my hands. I threw away the dried up paints. I repurposed a seven drawer thingy and put all my supplies where I could easily access them. And I made a list of what I needed to buy and what I wanted. A box of fun will be arriving on Monday.
I did a lot of saying goodbye today
-- to energy sucking stuff, to various pictures of who I've been, to things that had "so much potential", to a feeling of dread at knowing I had such a task ahead of me. But in the saying goodbye, I made space for me. Who I am now, and who I still want to become. I made space for breathing. I've made space for art, and mess, and capturing beauty and life.
"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.