Your Job as a CreativeSep 18, 2023
I had breakfast with my friend Daniel the other day. We were catching up about life and he asked how Mandy and I were doing.
Honestly, I don't know how to answer people when they ask me that question right now.
I kind of laugh and say, "I don't really know, ask me in a year or two. We are just in a boat in the middle of a storm working to get to the other side."
I told my counselor Jeff that same thing and he replied, "Yeah, if your house was burning down, you wouldn't be stopping to figure out how you feel about it, you would just be getting everybody out of the house."
This isn't to say I am pushing down or blocking my feelings, but there are times when you do just have to do the work in front of you, despite your feelings.
And that is what Mandy and I have been doing.
Working, writing, coaching, teaching, chemo, bills, funerals...it has been quite a year.
While all this is going on, Mandy and I finished a show called Daisy Jones and the Six.
I loved this show. It is about a band, sort of like Fleetwood Mac, that starts from nothing and blows up to be playing Soldier Field in Chicago. That huge show ends up being their last show because they implode due to internal band stuff. Sex, drugs, relationships..you know, the usual :).
The show is built like a documentary, where we see interviews of the band in present day talking about the prime time of the band from 20 or 30 years ago.
Towards the end of the last episode, the singer’s wife is being interviewed and her appearance has changed a little and I realized the other characters have been talking about her in the past tense.
Something I didn't notice until then.
As she is being interviewed, she pauses and says, "Hold on," and she raises her hands and adjusts her wig. It is so subtle, but the actress and the director did this so well, it makes us, the viewers, realize she has passed away from Cancer.
That subtle move opened the flood gate for me.
All the feelings of the last year came flooding to the surface.
I had to shut the show off and I just cried my eyes out for a few minutes in Mandy’s shoulder.
I didn't push the feelings down, I let 'em out.
That moment helped me express what I had been struggling to on my own.
There is a part of Christian culture that doesn't really want to acknowledge that sometimes things here on Earth suck. Phrases like, "Well, God is in control, and he has a plan..." or "Well, we know they were a believer, and we know where they are now, so no need to be sad," make us feel like we just need to sit up, accept it and pretend we're all happy.
Those things are true: God is in control, He does have a plan and we do know where our loved ones are, but...it is still sad, and it is OK to feel sad as a Christian.
We are all humans, created with feelings and emotions and if we continually stuff those down or numb them so we can put on a mask and pretend everything is ok, then we are just pretending, and we will not be real to the people who need know God in a real way.
Real creativity and leadership take off the mask.
It breaks that wall.
It is honest.
It is authentic.
It is real.
It puts emotion, paint, film, words, into the world that express what a lot of people can't do themselves.
The writers and director of Daisy Jones and the Six did that for me.
You as a creative have that honor for others.
This is the job.
So, go create and be something real, honest, authentic and amazing today.