Wednesday, June 9, 2010
To have a gift... to be 'gifted'... to use our gifts... We church-going or spirit-listening people are very aware of these concepts. We are on the lookout for 'gifts' everywhere, for and in ourselves and others. But a thought came to me as I was weaving yesterday that seemed to be a blinding new thought. "This is my Gift - to give!"
I'm almost ashamed to admit that it felt like such a new thought. How very American and materialistic of me, to think that gifts, even spiritual and personal ones, are just for me to receive, even if I have received them and have tried to 'use them in His Honour.'
I have always said that our creative talents (for lack of a better word) are God's gifts, or presents, to us. And for us to not use them would be to dis-honour the Giver. But my thought yesterday took me a big step beyond that belief. I now see that I am expected to give something back. My work in the studio, my weaving and my painting, is not just for my pleasure. It is all that I have to give as a gift. I have nothing else to give; no personal wealth, no brilliance in service of mankind or special knowledge. All I have to give is the work of my hands. So I must give it.
I thought of the holiday song, "The Drummer Boy," who 'had no gift to bring' (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum) so he gave the gift of playing on the drum. That was what he needed to give. Beethoven needed to give the Fifth Symphony. Shakespeare gave stories to ignite imaginations for eternity. J K Rowling gave an epic childrens tale that has already become a classic. Jane Austen, from her relatively love-less life, gave some of the greatest love stories ever written. Einstein gave all that he knew and dreamed and imagined. They all fulfilled their purpose - which was to use what was given to them to give back. None of them knew that their gifts would benefit and bless the world beyond their time. That was not their purpose. The results of our giving are always out of our hands. But we are expected to give.
I have always 'given' - have always tithed generously from any material wealth or gain. But I now see that that is not enough. It is my work itself that I understand to be the gift God wants. It makes me see my work quite differently.
I have a very small plaque in my studio. On it are the words "Great Art Is Created Not To Satisfy The Viewer But The Creator." Of course, that can be taken several ways, but I have always seen The Creator to mean God, not just myself. But to think of all my work as a gift to Him makes the plaque even more meaningful. When you make a gift for someone, you think of them as you create, hoping they will like it, eager to please them with your results. Today I moved the little plaque from the window ledge, a bit dusty and neglected, to sit on my loom, where it will be visible as I work. I will try to remember that the work of my hands is my Gift - not just a valued and enjoyed received Gift, but my only precious Gift to give.