Yesterday’s ‘Mother’s Cry’ poem came out of my experiences at the start of this year as Sam was undergoing radiotherapy. But I hope the sentiments have wider application than just the intensity of our personal suffering. The love and pain of motherhood is a broader subject than that because to a greater or lesser extent every mother has to let her son go as he becomes a man, whether to failure or success: Jesus’ mother knew this better than most. In particular, when a young man meets his wife, ‘leaving and cleaving’ is a serious spiritual moment: we have all observed the havoc a possessive mother-in-law can cause in a marriage if the ties of childhood are not loosed! So there is a necessary separation that has to happen at the right time, a gradual independence that must be found for healthy growth. It is painful, but right and good! If honour is then given in return, the balm of gratitude and appreciation more than make up for the loss.
I started writing poems and poetic reflections in an extraordinary creative burst that came almost ‘out of nowhere’ just before Sam was diagnosed with cancer. As I literally put pen to paper, I felt as if the words were coming out of me, carried on a wave of feeling and memory; it was somehow a spiritual activity. I then loved forging the final piece on the computer, as if settling the matter in permanent form. Poetry puts into beautiful words things that we feel but couldn’t find expression for before: we identify with the emotion and rhythm and somehow find satisfaction, comfort, wonder and revelation through the power of words.
Writing brought great comfort to me at an intensely painful time. It was a particular flow that happened over 4-6 months and then seemed to dry up for a while… my writing now has a different character. At that time, although risky and raw, it both helped me process my thoughts and feelings and enabled others to share in our journey. I was able to post my poems and reflections on Stories from the Street website and have now compiled them into ‘a diagnosis diary’.
Perhaps if the site had not been there I would not have made myself so vulnerable… Of course there is value in writing for its own sake and it does not have to be posted on the internet: I often wondered what on earth I was doing putting up such personal stuff, even though I hid behind the pseudonym ‘Redhead’! Yet art is meant to be shared, creativity to be appreciated and our stories to be told: ‘we overcome… by the word of our testimony’ Revelation 12v11. For me it was an identification with suffering around me, an honesty and reality that had to be expressed. On top of that, having partnered with Steve in prayer and the prophetic for some years up to this point it seemed the natural progression that he was now facilitating this release. Thanks, Steve 🙂
So, I am more than grateful for the encouragement and outlet provided by his vision of an on-line space for ordinary people to tell their stories. And it is still there if you want to use it! I wouldn’t be holding forth with my own blog now without the start provided there for first-time writers. But the other person I need to credit with helping it happen is Rebecca.
Last Christmas my daughter gave me a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It is a 12 week course designed to help blocked artists of all sorts discover and
recover their creative selves. I didn’t believe I was an ‘artist’! – butI knew Becca was – she is both a talented musician and an artist, and has begun to express that more and more since working with the Artists Way material. She’s loved drawing and had real talent in it throughout her childhood (including getting 100% for Art AS level and A for the A Level!) and is now is producing various blogs on-line and has set her sights on being an illustrator. Here is an example. Her other cartoon blogs are more quirky 😉 If you understand philosophy, don’t miss Being and Tim
So – Becca believed in me, and encouraged me. As I started to work with the Artist’s Way book and the tools it gave me – primarily writing ‘morning pages’ each day – my creative writing just started to happen! The ideas and words began to come… it was like an inspiration of the Spirit, a wind of God’s creativity. Julia Cameron says – in inclusive language for all faiths and none – that we have a responsibility to make way for the creative force to flow through us: it is our part to facilitate that, remove the blockages, and the Great Creator will take care of the quality! She encourages the ‘little artist’ in all of us to take those first steps of play and joy, to go on a weekly ‘date’ just to have fun in ways that most adults have forgotten – learn to enjoy life again. Sam always says the way to live is to ‘follow your joy’…
I had to stop doing the course when Sam got ill, though I keep meaning to go back to it and highly recommend it to anyone as an amazing tool, full of quotes and testimonies. There are all sorts of diverse expressions of creativity of course – she quotes sculptors, film directors, painters, photographers, playwrights… Each of us carries a unique fingerprint from the Creator Himself and every voice, every expression makes a contribution to the whole. One quote I read recently is from a commentator who believes art has an even more important place at times of national crisis:
“When politics is oppressive or inert, and the tissue of lies is so thick, it is a natural time for the arts to become active, because nothing can be solved without imagination. The difference between propaganda and art is that the first tells you what to think and the second just invites you to think.”
It seems our creative expressions really can be catalytic and make a difference to others around us and to society! So I’ll keep blogging. And why don’t you take your ‘little artist’ on a date, or pick up a pen, paintbrush, guitar, knitting pattern or camera… and have some fun?! Who knows where it can lead!