For Sunday, March 13, 2016:
“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
Well, there you have it: ‘for heaven’s sake.’
Yes, practicing an art makes our souls grow, but it does more than that, as wonderful as that is. Writing a poem, painting a picture or photographing one, singing, dancing, and so much more, makes heaven grow!
The theologian in me believes that God created us, humankind, in his and her image, and that generous spirit thus invites us to be co-creators through our art. Longtime followers here know how important hospitality is for me – with others and in our writing. I believe, then, that the Creator’s invitation to participate in acts of creation, too, however grand or small they may be, is one of great love and hospitality. We are welcomed into the creative process. We are encouraged in that process. How can our souls do anything but grow in such an environment, such a practice?
Whether Vonnegut intended those three little words in the way I take them or not, I’ll never know. If he didn’t – if he meant them in the same way as ‘I’m not kidding’ – I’m glad he included them, for I think he found the crux of the matter anyway. We are to create for heaven’s sake, and for the world’s sake, and for ours.
When we accept that arms-wide-open, generous, loving, and creative invitation, I can see the eyes of heaven smile inside our souls. I can even feel it. Can’t you?