by Pastor Audrey
Lately I’ve had a craving. The kind of craving that keeps you up at night and distracts you from other things that you’re supposed to be doing. I’ve had these thoughts before, but not to this level of obsession… at least not lately.
I’ve been craving art. Specifically, handmade art. The kind of art where you know the artist’s hands have touched this piece her- or himself. It’s had me scouring my home and office searching for things like handmade cards and asking my parents about whatever happened to those little Navajo vases I bought 25 years ago on a family vacation. I gathered everything I could find and displayed everything I could. But soon it wasn’t enough to satisfy the craving.
That’s when something really scary happened: I dug out a watercolor paint set that my husband gave me years ago because he’d heard me talking about wanting to learn to paint in this style. It seems like I’ve wanted to do this for as long as I can remember. I think I painted a total of 3 little cards when he gave me that set. I told myself I didn’t know how. So I didn’t.
But this time, the urge to paint was too strong to resist. I still felt terrified about not knowing what to do. “What if I mess up?” “What if it looks terrible?” “What if someone SEES it???” Those thoughts were (and are) still there this time, but I needed to do this. So I did.
What a surprise this turned out to be – I was craving handmade art, and what ended up satisfying that craving was creating art myself, giving license to the creative impulse, which I always find so life-giving. So why don’t I allow myself this freedom more often?
Something about the way that watercolor paints seem to have a life of their own, that I can only control so much, and then the magic of it all is out of my hands and all I can do is watch in wonder. It also soothes my agitated need for control, giving me this small area on a piece of paper to practice letting go, to practice trust, and to embrace the results of what comes out at the end. I kid you not, this is real work for me. And it feels so good to work at it.
The next time I’m craving something, I hope to remember to pause and listen for what is really driving the craving, and to respond to the craving in a way that honors the Creator.