We are a community of transformation. This month’s theme is a statement of faith that challenges us to move through the mud and the muck of personal despair and suffering, and turn it into something new. It challenges us to imagine possibility, even as life seems to be falling apart.
This is not an easy path. In fact, it may take us deeper into our pain than we care to go. But the call to transformation does not leave us stuck; rather it is a call to renewal.
One of the paths of transformation that has called me the past few weeks is the path of creativity and art. As late actress Carrie Fisher has said, “Take your broken heart, make it into art.” These were words from a woman of Star Wars fame who knew the darkness of despair through struggles with addiction and mental illness, yet who will always be remembered as a strong advocate who gave my generation the indomitable Princess Leia.
This past month, I looked out at the frozen world and felt the heaviness of these times. I took out my watercolors and began to transform a blank slate into image and color. On the edges of the page, lines of poetry surfaced like salamanders long dormant beneath winter ice, suddenly coming to life in a warm hand.
The test of this moment in history may indeed be one of imagination: To plant seeds when the world is dark. To see what is invisible to the eye. These are our hands and our minds, the stuff of faith, the stuff of art.
What will you create from the mud? How will this community of painters, potters, musicians, dancers, actors, poets, teachers, and community builders transform the difficult to imagine a new way?
This is my spiritual challenge to you in this month of transformation: to look deep into the mud of your pain, and create art. After all, a Buddhist saying tells us, “no mud, no lotus.” I invite you to imagine: What will your lotus look like in full bloom?
A Note: This month, I will be away from the pulpit at UUCRT, as I am completing my spring semester at Hartford Seminary. From April 5-8 I will be serving as a chaplain and worship leader at the UU-UNO Intergenerational Seminar in New York City. I have been involved in many aspects of planning this conference, and am excited about our work to bring youth and adults together to imagine healing and justice, and act together to disarm our planet.