Creativity is arguably the best proof we are expected to give of having been made in the image of God. Yet, the notion of carrying within us God’s image tends to be a vague concept to be relegated to the storage room where we put most of what we hear in church on Sunday because it resonates little with our real life and its unrelenting challenges.
Creativity, if given a chance, will find a way to free itself from the confinements of a safe, risk-free lifestyle, of conformism, of trite, common loci, of false façades, of the stale venues of disengagement. It springs up unexpectedly from the field where the seeds of the Gospel have found fertile soil. It grows best with the help of improvisation, spontaneity and child-like imagination, provided that it is not held back by the menace of crippling mistakes, and is totally free of fear of embarrassment.
Creativity reminds us that we cannot play it safe when it comes to exercising stewardship of God’s plentiful talents entrusted to us. A conscience that is bogged down by an unhealthy sense of guilt and stifled due to the depletion of those energies that are drained by obsessions and compulsions is ill-equipped to overcome the doldrums of life, the grinding of daily routine and the temptation of putting off anything daring and bold.
What is life without the spice of creativity? Creativity makes the gift of ourselves to others that much more attractive and appreciated. With creativity we can transform birthdays into unforgettable events, make one feel truly special, impact an otherwise flat life with a unique compliment; we can light up the shadows stretching over the gloomy outlook of a depressed friend; we can dispel boredom and improvise a celebration for some wild reason, or no reason at all.
What is there that creativity cannot handle? With creativity a mom can even find clever ways to disguise loathed vegetables into something yummy for her kids’ dinner; she can spruce up the living room with old stuff from the attic and turn anything burdensome into a fun game. We should give free rein to our creativity to see it grow doing good.
For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Matthew 13:12.
Fr. Dino S. Vanin, Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, Detroit, MI