Create Something Besides Chaos

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“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” Thessalonians 4:11

I took my own advice about being quiet, voting, and being creative until I let people I care about (on and off of Facebook) overturn my week. I meant to watch the results of the election on Tuesday and onward move. Instead, I spent from Sunday until today either in bed or online trying to make sense of how others were acting – not about me, not anything I could control, nothing that was my business.

This is a lifelong habit of some of us humans. Actually, it’s probably original sin at its most obvious. I want to understand (the reason Adam and Eve – let’s blame them – ate the apple from the Tree of Knowledge in the first place), so I can decide whether you need acceptance or straightening out, and whether my feelings should be hurt. I need to understand why you’re being unkind, or at least make you understand why you need to be sorry. If nothing else, certainly we all understand I’m justified in judging you for judging me first.

It’s all beyond our limited understanding, even when we’re worldly, and kindness, humility, and acceptance are challenges when we don’t understand each other. They have their reasons. So do we, and they’re trying to figure it out too. I read an article that actually speculated I voted the way I did because I haven’t traveled more than 200 miles from home this year. Really? I need another apple.

“Martha, Martha, there you go again, letting their lives distract you from your own,” from “Choose Well (a distracted Martha in a world that admires merry Mary).” #GettingYourOwnLife

I heard Jesus’ voice this morning like he spoke this out loud, but I went ahead and reasoned how easy it’s been to get sucked into other people’s junk. I justified it because I’m sensitive. I explained it on Facebook – I’ve been kind while hurting for a long time, so why can’t you?

#WhileLovingthePeopleInIt

Thankfully, I have a friend who listens when I complain (using the polite word here). She listens, but she also redirects when she can. Sometimes I’m like a derailed train and I’ll send her six long messages riddled with pronouns (after all, it’s your fault), negativity, and not-so-nice words because the problem is out there. However, her steady compassion, spirituality, and humor remind me I’m sitting with the problem, staring at the problem, being the problem.

It’s difficult to recognize, though, and challenging to admit because I’m so sure it’s you, not me, especially after the way you acted about election results.

By now, it’s Thursday. I’m discouraged and exhausted, but probably not as much as rioters using their energy to destroy instead of create things. Although, looking around, I haven’t created anything except chaos this week either, which is usually when I either nosedive or decide to pull out and do something different.

I’ve been here and “rioting,” like so many times before, when I’ve had no idea what to do with myself. I’ve felt hurt to the point of shaking and lashing out, frustrated enough to physically not be able to sit still, eat, or sleep, and so scared, alone, and misunderstood, I didn’t want to live. I was most afraid of the hole I’d fall into if the darkness kept on, and lots of times, it did. A friend reminded me, “It’s a tunnel, not a hole. Walk through it.” I trusted her, but, too often, it turned into a hole anyway.

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But that hasn’t happened this week because I’ve had more practice walking through dark places and, like my friend who redirects me said this morning, instead of a dark hole, I’m finding my “holy hill” – a place to go where I’m safe and guided and close to God. For me, this place is Creativity.

If you’d like to read another of my blog posts, here is the link to “Holey (holes and tunnels and holiness).”

When I think of being saved by Creativity (and my Creator), I think about what a friend told me when she found out I majored in psychology. She said, “Psychology is fascinating. My mom worked as a counselor for the Radar Institute.” In her next breath, she said, “I used art to navigate my way through my insane family dynamics. Art is an awesome way of communicating.”

“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.” Marc Chagall

My friend’s quote, coupled with Marc Chagall’s, helps me understand myself even when no one else does and even when psychology and well-meaning friends with advice and church fall far short. It shows me the way to my Holy Hill. Get out of my head, into my heart, and Create.

Write it. Paint it. Take a photo of it. Sing it. Sell it. Record it. Dance to it. Build it. Bake it. Organize it. Travel to it. Draw it. Calculate it. Meditate on it. Decorate it. Collect it. Clean it. Teach it. Decoupage it. I used to decoupage everything except my waffle at breakfast.

Create something.

This is big. When we create, we biggie-size our breaths. We make what we do larger than our problems, bigger than what we dwell on, greater than what bothers us. Creativity is healing. It’s living a quiet life, minding my own business, and working with my hands. Sometimes writing, my version of living out loud, seems contradictory to living a quiet life, but it’s not when I stick with heart work instead of messing with the “Tree of Knowledge,” trying to figure it out, and overthinking. When I do it right and leave the apples alone, timely things happen like my art instructor sending a message just now, “I hope you’re playing in the paint every once in a while during our hiatus from class.”

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I’m reminded of Elizabeth Layton, also known as Grandma Layton. The 68-year-old spent much of her life suffering from feelings and coping with depression and bipolar disorder until she signed up for an art class at a local university. It saved her life. Grandma Layton overcame her difficulties when she began drawing contour art in 1977, which the Washington Post said “is good.”

Like God created us, we’re called to create because we were made in his image. When I do, I get caught up in a space far from needing to understand and a long way from judgment. I get caught up in creating, and time stands still and life feels magnetic and restorative and energizing.

Creativity is my Holy Hill. My guess is, it’s everyone’s holy hill. May we find that spot and live there often.

And heal … God, help us heal. 

In This Together,
Kim

The Images:

Rebecca Zdybel, thank you for your painting, your instruction and encouragement, and the image you created that goes along with this blog post.

Joel, I knew I had to use at least one of your photos. You’re photography not only seems like your holy hill, but it provides that same kind of space for others.

Grandma Layton’s family, I appreciate you reaching out when I wrote about depression the first time and offering her artwork for use on my blog. The piece I shared here is called Garden of Eden – November 1977. For more about her, check her out @ Grandma Layton. She describes Garden of Eden like this, “Women have had the blame all through the ages for everything. You know that’s not right. Now a woman would not listen to a snake, she’d run, wouldn’t she? This is Adam, he’s got a Band-Aid where his rib came out. This was my first E.R.A. picture. I was just objecting to being blamed for all of the sin of the world.”

The Quotes:

Jenine, there aren’t enough grateful words to describe and thank you for our friendship, your support, and for all things funny and good and sacred we talk about like belts and space and holy hills.

Maria, I appreciate our friendship more and more. It’s been fun getting to know you.

Betty, you’re gone and I miss you terribly, but nothing you ever told me has been forgotten. I remember when I need it most.

 

 

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22 responses »

  1. I remember the 60s too well, and while it strikes me as counterproductive to protest by overturning and burning cars belonging to strangers (along with looting their stores), it’s something to be accepted with a sigh.

    Destructiveness grows from a liberal and affluent society. Creative engagement has to begin from a harsher place, a place that does not care if one is ‘offended’.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/11/your-dying-spouse-231-vulnerability-fmf_10.html

  2. “Creation: In the beginning…..” And creativity continues in all our lives.Thank you once again for your blog. The Grandma Layton picture is so so powerful. You’ve tied it all together in your blog. Creativity has been going on for a long time and Re- creation. Yes, it is therapeutic, and as Bill Strydesky an artist friend posted today ” hearts communicating to another”

    • Ooooh, I’m working on a blog post now about play and I do believe I’m going to have to use “re-creation” in there. 😀

      All of Grandma Layton’s work is very detailed and powerful. To think, all of that was inside her for so long, and when it was released, the results got national attention. No wonder. Her family wrote a book about her and they were kind enough to send me a copy. It’s also a powerful testimony to the healing of creativity.

      It’s all played a part in my own ongoing healing, just like your photography has … and so many other artists’ work. I love the way God weaves our lives.

      Thanks for everything, Joel! ❤

  3. Kim, my Mom used to create. She would paint lovely oil paintings. Your post makes me realize I need to encourage her to get back to painting again. Thanks for writing. Deirdre

  4. Hi Kim – as usual, I found myself in your blog this week! And Thank You for sharing again about Grandma Layton. She would have felt so much the same way I think, trying to calm the world – and knowing she could only calm herself, pick up her drawing pencils and gentle her chaos. Do you mind if I share your blog on her Facebook? Thank you again for your blog – and may God continue to bless you! Kathy Tracy, granddaughter of Elizabeth Layton

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Hi Kathy, I love when you show up here. ❤ I feel a kindred spirit with you and Grandma Layton. I'd be honored to have you pass along this blog post. Thank you again for allowing me to use your grandmother's artwork.

  5. From Facebook (Joel Carter’s page) ~

    Maria Franken and 2 others

    Pat Rogers Amen!!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 5:55pm

    Kim Henson Thanks, Pat. ❤
    Like · Reply · November 11 at 9:15pm

    Kim Henson Joel Carter, I sure appreciate you sharing this on your page. Thanks, my friend!
    Like · Reply · November 11 at 9:15pm · Edited

    Joel Carter You're welcome
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 9:16pm

  6. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Karen Rice, Laurie Bruun and 12 others

    2 shares (Laurie Bruun, Connie Gardner)

    Kim Henson Joel shared this by Francisco Goya in a private message, “The act of painting is about one heart telling another heart where he found salvation.” Love. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 10:19am

    Joel Carter Thank you Kim, Left a comment on your blog
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 10:27am

    Kim Henson Joel Carter, thank you!
    Like · Reply · November 11 at 10:35am

    Joel Carter Thank You, the reason I sometimes share on messages is to respect folks privacy instead of tagging on another persons post or direct post on anothers page
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 11:33am · Edited

    Kim Henson Joel Carter, I understand. Some don't like tags and I get that. I try to be careful because I can forget since I don't mind them. It's good FB etiquette, for sure. 😀
    Like · Reply · November 11 at 11:03am

    Maria Franken Kim…. I enjoyed this blog a bunch. 😀
    Did you know that that day after the election, the 9th, was National "Chaos Never Dies" Day? It's true. LOL
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 12:02pm · Edited

    Kim Henson No way, Maria Franken! That's crazy. Well, creativity may kill chaos yet! I have high hopes. May we all go and create something (besides chaos) today. ❤ I love your quote and you. Thanks, my friend.
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 11:40am

    Kim Henson Thank you for the Likes. This one made me nervous to post, maybe because I'm already nervous these days. I love y'all and your support. It means so much! ❤
    Like · Reply · November 11 at 1:12pm

    Connie Gardner This is me❤ Thank you Kim Henson. I feel this one deep🙌
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 2:24pm

    Kim Henson Thank you, Connie Gardner. ❤ I felt it deep when writing it. Cried a couple of times, so sometimes I don't post ones like this. I just write them and put them away. Too much emotion, but I needed to get this one out here.
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 2:28pm

    Connie Gardner Kim Henson I understand. Thank you for sharing . I keep mine silent . People just don't seem to get it😢🙌Kim Henson
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 2:30pm

    Kim Henson Connie Gardner, I did that too until it led to a scary two-year depression. I had to make some really uncomfortable choices. I'm still uncomfortable, but I'm over a lot of the depression, so it's been worth it to speak up. And I feel stronger – a first in my lifetime. ❤ I love you and I appreciate the encouragement you've offered through the years. (((hugs)))
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 2:41pm

    Connie Gardner Kim Henson we will get together ❤
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 2:44pm

    Kim Henson Connie Gardner, I'd love that.
    Like · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 2:49pm

  7. I just now read this, Kim, and I want to say I’m sorry that you were hurting so much. I was grieving also but my grief was for a different reason–actually a number of reasons. At some point my grief turned a bit angry and I posted some things I don’t usually post. I think what most of us have in common right now is a collective uncertainty about the future and a concern for some of the hateful behavior we see coming from all sides. I think we’re all just trying to understand the whys behind what people think and do. We’re a bit like the blind men and the elephant, one feeling the tail, another the trunk, another the foot, and declaring that’s what the elephant looks like. I wish I had the answers and could stop the hurting and the genuine fear that some folks have. I truly hope that I can continue to send love out into the world regardless of how difficult that may be. I appreciate your bravery and honesty in expressing your pain. You have helped me to be more open in my writing (although you may not always like what I have to say).

    • Thanks for your kind words, Mary. ❤ I certainly understand the pain that's going on now because I've experienced it in an opposite direction for the last four years. I don't think I even realized how much so until the election was over and I wrote this post, and rewrote it, and rewrote it again to water down (how I expressed) my strong emotions. I watched family and friends act out and recognized their feelings as ones I've had also, even though I'm still a little stunned by some of the actions and accusations. However, the similarities among all of us were surreal a few times. Fear rules too much of our energy and time, that I'm certain of.

      I'm so, so, so grateful for creativity, and that I stumbled on it as a solution. It really does work to CREATE.

      I appreciate your writing also. ❤

    • Hahaha, Bob. 🙂 Yeah, it’s easier, though not productive, to get into others’ stuff. I’m grateful to know better even when I don’t do better.

      I hope you and Agnes had a wonderful Thanksgiving! ❤

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