Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Annunciation for Writers and Other Creatives

Today is the feast day of the Annunciation.  What is that holiday?  Simply put, it celebrates the encounter between the angel Gabriel and Mary, who would become famous as the mother of Jesus.  He gives her the vision that God has for her; she agrees.

For a theological reflection on this day, see this post on my theology blog.  For a wonderful meditation on this day and artistic response, see Beth's post from several years ago; I was taken with the wings of the angels.

When I was younger, I saw Mary as a passive vessel, and in my early feminist days, I interpreted this story through a lens of rape.  As an older believer, I see the story differently.  Mary had a choice.  She could have said no.  I've pondered a poem that has the voices of all the women that Gabriel approached before he got to Mary.

I also think this story has some relevance for us as creators.  Most of us will get all sorts of opportunities.  We have to wrestle with how to answer the call. 

Maybe we have to be quiet enough so that we can hear that call.  I have a vision of the angel Gabriel having trouble catching up with modern folks so that he can give God's message.  Many of us lead frazzled lives full of noise and distraction.  How can we ever hope to hear our opportunities calling to us?

I'm an older woman who has had visions for her creative work that haven't come to fruition yet.  No blockbuster novel that's been made into a hit movie--no, that hasn't happened yet.  I struggle to find time to create while also having time with friends and loved ones while also taking care of my day job responsibilities.

The waiting aspect of the annunciation story gives me the most hope.  God has a vision for the redemption of the world.  But that vision requires lots of waiting.  There's the waiting through the 9 months of pregnancy and then the waiting that it takes to bring a child to adulthood.

Throughout this time, it may look like nothing is happening.  But much is bubbling, sometimes far beneath the surface, sometimes more obviously.

It gives me hope, this idea that my creative life is on a trajectory that will make sense eventually.  I may not feel like I'm making progress, but as long as I show up on a regular basis to attend to my creative life, I am making progress.

So, on this feast day of the Annunciation, let us pause a minute to think about our creative lives and what calls to us.  How can we best answer that call?

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