A few weeks ago, I was able to attend a talk about J.R.R. Tolkien (author of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings).
If you didn’t know, Tolkien was actually a devout Catholic, and for a good part of his childhood he was raised by a Catholic priest. He was also friends with C.S. Lewis.
At a time when writing Fantasy novels was looked down on a bit, J.R.R. Tolkien was drawn to the genre; “Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.”
Tolkien recognized that God is creative, in the highest and purest sense of the word. And, being made in his image and likeness, we honor Him by creating.
As Catholics, we’re given the luxury of dreaming big. We can believe in the impossible. Why? Because, with God, the impossible IS possible!
It’s our faith in God that gives us hope, and from hope, creativity springs forth.
Unfortunately, studies are beginning to show that kids today are less creative than they were decades ago, seemingly because of technology and ‘screen time.’ Where kids used to be outside dreaming up some crazy game, now they’re often heads down in iPads. And, while as men, we may not be playing cops and robbers, technology occupies a lot of our daily activities.
The problem is that creativity happens when you’re bored. When you’re lost in thought waiting at the barber, when you’re going for a walk in the woods, or driving on a road trip.
But, we don’t let ourselves be bored. You could go as far to say that being bored terrifies us as a culture. The result is that we are consumers and not producers.
The challenge this week is to make room for creativity in our lives. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should take up oil painting, but if that does call you, do it. For many of us, it might mean putting the phone down, turning the computer off, and sitting in silence. Ponder a problem that needs solved, whether that’s at work or at home. Or, draft up some wild plans for a DIY project for your house. Draw, write. Be bored, and see what happens.
Be the Men.