We can all have a share in creation

We all like to be creative, with our hands, with our minds and with our imaginations, and we all like to leave something behind, which others can go on enjoying and, let's be fair, that'll remind them of us too.

We all like to be creative, with our hands, with our minds and with our imaginations, and we all like to leave something behind, which others can go on enjoying and, let's be fair, that'll remind them of us too.

Creativity can take many forms: for me it is mainly writing, but it can equally well be making a beautiful embroidery or creating a garden. There is no end to the possibilities, but always it is a way of using my special gift, for others to

enjoy too.

Is that selfish? I don't think so - not if the gift is used for other people, as a service rather than an ego-trip.

When I talked to a friend about my current writing

project the other day, she said: "You sound as if

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you're enjoying it".

That hadn't really been at the top of my mind but, yes, of course I enjoy it, at least some of the time!

But I don't think that's my main reason for writing.

I write because there is something I want to say, ideas

I want to share, and, of course, to do this properly I

need to be in touch with other people and listen to their

ideas, too.

Putting ideas on paper is my particular way of being creative, which makes sense only in relation to the people around me and, who knows, even some of the people who come after me.

Creating something that speaks to them too is not about words only; it's about a whole range of activities, which is something I have become much more aware of recently, through seeing other people at work.

Embroidery is the particular skill of an Australian friend of mine who uses it in a way that is very much a service to others.

Her work involves the embroidering of liturgical vestments - the 'clothes' that a priest wears at mass.

The designs I have seen are related to the meaning of the mass so that, for instance, grapes and ears of corn represent the wine and the bread used in the Eucharist. Also, the images have to be large enough to be seen even by the person sitting in the furthest back pew.

In this way the embroidery becomes a form of communication, an image that is held up to the congregation every time they go to Mass.

"This is your 'book'," I said to her last time we met and she showed me the intricate stitching close up.

"Yes, I believe it is," she said, "I really enjoy it and it'll be there for years and years!"

Executing a new garden design requires yet another

form of creative skill, as I noticed recently when a

craftsman 'recreated' our garden for us with natural

stone paving and raised beds (no more grass, no more mowing!).

I had never before watched and talked to someone working on a garden of this kind and it was quite a revelation. When I told him that the granite sets of the edging looked really good, he said: "Yes, you can't beat natural stone.

"It goes on looking better and better with time, and the same goes for the limestone paving. And, by the way," he went on, "have you noticed the ferns in some of the limestone? Fossils, of course."

I hadn't, but now I admired the delicate shapes preserved in the stone.

Marvelling at natural stone was, of course, not the whole story. There were more mundane things like drainage and levelling to be considered, but always as part of creating something beautiful.

To see someone at work with such skill and patience - he kept going even during the near freezing temperatures in December - made me realise that creativity really does come in all sorts of forms.

I work with words, he works with stone, and both are ways of creating something for others to enjoy.

The creativity that most of us recognise in ourselves in one form or another is part of being human, it is a God-given gift. The Bible describes God as the Creator of the World and of men and women being made "in his image and likeness". (Gen. 1:26).

This means, among other things, that we are meant to be creative, just as God is creative. That we are meant to leave our mark on Creation with whatever ability we have been given.

So using, and enjoying, our creative gifts, whether with chisel or needle or computer keyboard, is not selfish at all, but a way of sharing with others - and with the Creator who gave us our gifts.