This Sunday I saw a rose so lovely one could get lost in it’s petals, contemplating beauty while the blossom blushes sweetly. It had the rich scent of a real rose, the kind you want to just drink in again and again…the kind that makes you think of romantic English gardens and quaint little thatched cottages.
Thinking back, it was a funny little gift to see it growing there, just outside the church, where moments before I had been talking with my friend Sherri, and joking that all the pretty women were wearing roses that day. She had a beautiful white dress covered in red roses, and I had a rose pattern white t-shirt. She told me she wanted to dress up extra today, on the feast of Pentecost, for the Holy Spirit, with whom she has such a love affair. “He just always takes such good care of me,” she smiled.
“Today is my 10 year anniversary of baptism,” I told her, “10 years since I joined the church.” For her it had been almost 16. I remembered rubbing my belly with childlike excitement in the days leading up to my baptism…God Himself was coming to dwell in my soul! We marvelled at how lucky we felt, knowing God’s love, His desire to be close to each and every person, to bring depth and meaning to our lives.
So who is this person Sherri and I are enamoured with, who inflames and guides our hearts? Isn’t going to church just for stodgy old ladies…people who recite pious prayers but aren’t really spiritual? As a convert, I haven’t found this old stereotype to hold water, nor have I found the supposed opposition between being religious and being spiritual.
For me, finding the faith helped me begin a very intimate and interior journey, one of growing closer to God while at the same time becoming more free to truly be myself…learning to trust the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, the one who nudges me to grow, to give, to respond to His creative impulses, to be optimistic and ready to dream aloud. To trust in something bigger than myself. To be willing to take creative risks.
Growing in my spiritual life has been essential to my growth as a writer. I find there is such a direct link between prayer and creativity, because prayer helps me be aware of the beauty around me, and to be still enough to let it enter my heart. Then it’s just a matter of sharing what’s inside. I once compared writing poetry to sitting still enough for a butterfly to land on you, a matter of receiving an inspiration and sharing it, a little gift…
So if I haven’t been blogging much at times, you can guess I’ve been letting myself get too busy, and you can write me a comment and say, “Anna, stop running around… sit still and pray more; we want some poetry! ”
When I don’t take time to pray, to be still, to talk to God about my life and especially to listen, my creative well runs dry. I run like a little hamster in a wheel, very busy but very superficial. It is exhausting and empty, and I think our souls need to love deeper…ha, that was a typo but still true: we need to live deeper and to love deeper. This is what helps us see the beauty in life, despite suffering; this is what helps us live for something bigger than ourselves, and in the process become more the people we are meant to be.
Maybe I’ll write more about this soon, but as we’re all busy people I’ll let you go for now. I hope you’ll find a little time to seek out that special stillness in which God whispers to our hearts and inspires us to help Him create a more wonderful world.