NEW Year Thoughts
This beautiful photo was taken by my oldest daughter, Rachel, one early dawn in December of 2014. If you know anything about my family's sleeping patterns, you would recognize the existence of this photograph as truly miraculous! We usually only hear of the phenomenon of something called a sunrise. We are night owls at my house. We see plenty of sunsets, but are usually down for the count when the sun appears on the other side of the horizon.
Sometimes the utter joy of anticipation and curiosity liven us to do something that is completely counter-intuitive and unnatural, some new thing that captures our attention if we allow its spell to take hold. Rachel loves a good adventure that involves a road trip and the natural beauty of the great outdoors. So much so, that she and her friend, Katie, got up at 4:00 am to arrive at"Narrows of the Harpeth" near Kingston Springs, TN, just to view the sunrise! The curiosity of the new and uncharted was the fuel that denied the snooze button that morning.
There is something incredibly alluring about the new. There is also something risky and nerve-wracking about the new. If new was easy, everyone would do it! What is easy is staying with what you know. But then, photographs like this and experiences like this would not exist.
The challenge of doing something new is that the world is harsh toward what it does not know. It is afraid of the new. Walter Brueggeman, in his brilliant, substantial book, The Prophetic Imagination, says, "...[prophets] understood the distinctive power of language, the capacity to speak in ways that evoke newness 'fresh from the word.' It is argued here that a prophetic understanding of reality is based in the notion that all social reality does spring fresh from the word. It is the aim of every totalitarian effort to stop the language of newness, and we are now learning that where such language stops we find our humanness diminished."
What new ways are you being summoned into? What new ridge do you want to look out over to get a better view? What new project do you want to try this year? What new way of thinking is "springing fresh from the word?" If it's not a scary thing to look out over, it is not new for you.
When you think about your creative life, I want you to look at the big picture. Your creativity is your life, meaning, you are the piece of art. Every effort you lay down in your life is an opportunity to create. How you respond to your children, your marriage, how you go to work, how you begin a new painting, how you wash a dish, how you have lunch with a friend - all of life - is an opportunity to create something new. I know, know, know this to be true, but it is mysterious and often nebulous. It takes a great amount of faith to walk into your life with a creative approach, looking for ways that the new "springs fresh from the word." It is difficult and scary, but also exhilarating and hopeful because it resides right there alongside your longing! If you've spent a great amount of energy killing your longing, the new will sound ridiculous. If you are here, perhaps a good place to begin is to allow your longings to come forth and live and have a place to speak. That may sound like crazy-making. Just hit the snooze button, then. But the alarm will go off again and you'll be staring the same decision down in 9 minutes. As Lord Aragorn in Lord of the Rings says to a little Hobbit who has just lost a dear friend, "On your feet, Sam!", so I am saying to you, the snooze button will keep ringing and interrupting your slumber. Wake Up! You don't want to miss this stunning sunrise... It's happened millions of times before, but this one is brand new, fresh from the word!