Grief Can Block Our Creativity
When my father died unexpectedly of arteriosclerosis in the month of January, I went through the stages of grief. I remember one day shortly after the funeral sitting on the rocker-recliner that my husband and I bought when we had our first son. With a blank expression, I sat on that chair all day in my pajamas watching nonsense on the television trying to ignore my grief. After a few days, I slowly went back to the daily duties of housekeeping and mothering our two young sons. A heaviness weighed me down for about three years until one day out of the blue, I finally felt lighter, and then I realized how heavy my grief had been.
The spring after my dad died, I was unable to plant flowers. Planting flowers such as impatiens, petunias, and geraniums was one way I brought beauty into my surroundings which gave me great joy. Each year I bought several flats of flowers to put in pots, hanging baskets, and flower beds. In the month of May following my dad’s passing, I had no desire, energy, or motivation to decorate the outside of my home with beautiful flowers. My creative potential was diminished. What was puzzling to me was that planting flowers had no connection with my dad. When I was a small child, my dad gave me a small section of his large garden to let me plant radishes, my favorite vegetable, and carrots. However, I have no memory of planting flowers with my dad. That activity was something my mom and dad did together.
Looking back on this time of adjusting to the loss of my dad, I realized that grief can block creativity and stifle it. Deep sorrow can interfere with the creative parts of our minds. Our creative output can dry up during this season of drought and bereavement. Each of us has creative potential that is often interrupted when loss occurs. Designing and developing works of art are sometimes delayed. We must give ourselves grace when this occurs and give ourselves time to find our creative voice, remembering we can’t force the creative process when our hearts are heavy. Thankfully, there is a season for everything.
Creative God, help us give ourselves grace and space in times of grief and heartache. Amen.