Covid and Creativity

My friend Jodie Bowers, a pastoral minister with whom I worked at St. Dominic Parish in Shaker Heights, has written a reflection that I thought was worth sharing. Here it is:

One of the blessings of the pandemic has been the invitation to slow down and live with mindfulness and intention. Breathe deeply and exhale. As our schedules became less regimented, our minds and spirits had the latitude to explore new frontiers. Sure, I think we all spent a few days watching “Tiger King” and everything else on Netflix. After binge watching those shows, we carved out time to do or finish the project that we have been putting off for years. Remember the explosion in creativity, art, poetry, literature, home remodeling, and even sidewalk chalk! 
In a way, the extra time at home allowed us to return to ourselves. It was a gift of rediscovering our own vocations and callings. It was a grace to spend time with our spouses and kids and walk the dog 48 times around the block each day. Decompression was good for the human soul and that of the planet. 

Now, a few months later, many of us have returned to our pre-pandemic levels of busyness. Many things have re-opened, yet none of them seem normal. It is strangely surreal time to be living. Mix in racial injustice, toxic politics, economic uncertainty, two hurricanes headed for Louisiana in the same week and life is so confusing. What is going on around here? Where is God in all of this? 

One way of proceeding in difficult times is to focus on our passions and not the negativity surrounding us. What is the one, two, or three things that make you, you? What are your non-negotiables? What gets you going in the morning and keeps you motivated throughout the day? Continue to cultivate these gifts. After all, these gifts were given to us by God. God is present in them. And our response to that gift, is a grace to the rest of the world. 
One of my favorite images in El Salvador is a carving that hangs in the Dominican convent that says, “Un Fuego Produce Otro Fuego.” The Fire That Produces Other Fire. In Sunday’s first reading, the Prophet Jeremiah encourages us to share the fire that burns within our hearts. This is the same fire that the disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced. Don’t be a miser and hold it in. Share your light, your passion, and your fire with the world. 

Your gifts have the ability to change the direction of this pandemic. Your gifts can root out racism, and injustice. Your gifts can change the course of history. Make that music of the soul. God is using you to illuminate the way forward. Let us continue to minister to one another.

Sister Kathleen speaking now: Two things I’m doing during these months of isolation are writing a novel about Ruth and Naomi and learning Spanish. I’m reminded of something our novice director told us: “Better to wear out than to rust out”!

• How are you being creative? What are you doing to minister to another person or persons? Has someone ministered to you?

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