Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Service and Creative Expression: A dynamic, interdependent relationship

There is an interconnected, dynamic relationship between the life of service that we devote to our families and the art we create. Sometimes the line between the two is so blurred that one might be tempted to say that mothering is an art and the products of our creative expression are, in a sense, our "children". Many of my blogging friends are mothers and artists. I am continually amazed by the products of their creativity and the perspective they share as mothers. Today I'm inspired by Maegan from Life Set to Words who taps this well of thought with touching emotion in her recent post
http://madelinebea.com/blog/2010/07/faint-of-heart-my-bigger-picture-moment/. After reading about the transition she made from vacationing on Pea Island to what she calls a "smaller" life at home in PA, I connected to her struggle with the continual demands of laundry, her little one's needs, and the temptation to give up her art and simply "be a mom".

Maegan goes on to say that this wouldn't work because that would mean living 50% of a life. The question is how we manage the internal tension that comes from making our art and doing the necessary tasks needed to give our children comfort, safety and love. Time moves forward in the rush of daily chores, while our art seems to stagnate, stuffed in a box somewhere waiting to be given life. We don't want to think about doing art only when we are old and when we have lots of free time. We are compelled to do both now, even if the house is never fully clean or the art worthy of national merit. This is something our children will learn to accept as they grow, and hopefully appreciate as they discover and develop their own interests.

And what would our art be without our children to inspire us to create it? We are leaving it for them as well as healing ourselves in the process. When we find what it is that we love, our lives become ever expansive, fuller and satisfying. I cannot leave or quit this new "artistic" job I've created because it's in me; it's in my head and my hands and my heart. It's also connected to my faith because I suspect I am answering a prompt and following a path. I need to believe that my art will grow into a vehicle for giving in a bigger way than was possible in the days simply "being a mom".

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