05 June 2017
But love laughs at the end of the world because love is the door to eternity and he who loves God is playing on the doorstep of eternity....
- Thomas Merton
It is not by chance that I found this book by Merton, on the vocation of writing. I seem to stumble upon books at just the right time. I have been thinking a lot about writing lately, and how I can better fulfill my purpose through my love of writing. The book has been opening up a world of thoughts, contemplations, and I find myself underlining passages everywhere. Merton was a Catholic who joined the Gethsemani Trappist Monastery and became a monk living in Kentucky back in the 1940s. My aunt and uncle have been to the monastery several times to visit, enjoying the nature and retreat from the busy world that it is.
I read his words that challenge me with insights:
When everything is "creative", nothing is creative.
What we call creative today (he wrote these thoughts in 1960) is not original or unique, but usually something that is more aggressive or vulgar (he says this in regards to sale techniques that might be called creative). It is so true that we praise something as being creative when it is actually so familiar to us and could go against what we believe to be good and honest. We are surrounded by that, rather than true creativity.
So what is real creativity, we might ask?
What it is not, is all the destructive and negative actions used in frustration and anger, which actually causes us to lose the true elements of creativity.
There is no true creativity apart from God. That is the great summation.
The theology of creativity is recovering our likeness to the image of God, he writes, "since God is love, then for man to be restored to the likeness of God, all his acts must be pure and disinterested love."
Creativity is possible, then, when we can forget our own limitations and allow ourselves to be lost in the immense and expansive creative power of God, whose "love is too great to be seen or comprehended."
Indeed, we look inward at ourselves too frequently, which leaves us dry and lacking while we wonder why. As we try to fill ourselves with the outward knowledge and inspiration, we should instead be emptying ourselves in Christ. It is then we can move into being truly creative with a focus on Christ rather than the world and its approval. I think this is when our true selves, as God intended us to be, begins to shine through and we lose the urge to mimic others and instead become truly creative.