I’ve never considered myself to be an “artsy” type. However, the older I’ve gotten, the more I value creating and practicing the arts. When I was growing up, my love for sports always came before piano practice. My artwork was always considered average by the art teacher, and I never won a coloring contest, or had my picture chosen to represent anything extraordinary. That’s ok. Although I didn’t always prioritize it, I think early on, I realized that doing something artsy, was more of a blessing for myself than for others. It feeds my heart and soul on a whole different level. As I was growing up, I watched my Mom learn to paint and saw how it relaxed her. The art that I was most impacted by was music. I was surrounded by it. I participated in musicals and the choir at church. Eventually, I was in the school band. Singing was just something that our family did.
My mom sang with a gospel group called “The Sunshine Singers.” It was kind of gospel group where everyone wore matching dresses and sometimes they even made a smaller version for me. They would travel around and sing at local churches and events and that’s where I learned to hear and sing harmony. I would sit on my “Pop’s” knee and he would sing tenor parts along with them as he played the bass guitar. I would do my best to sing along never worrying that I might not be good enough, or that I would be judged in my abilities. That must have been difficult for him to juggle- me sitting on his knee and singing, while he played. I never remember him using any chord charts or looking at any paper music. He would just play what he heard, as his wife, Sarah, otherwise known as “Mom” in the dynamic grandparent duo of “Mom and Pop,” pounded out the piano parts with energy and a smile on her face that exuberated the joy that was in her heart. Sometimes, I would hop on the piano, when it wasn’t being used and tried to imitate her style, but I could never get it quite right. All I ever heard or saw was encouragement and smiles. They just enjoyed my joyful “noise.” They weren’t my blood grandparents, but it didn’t matter, they were family to us. We were with them around every holiday, went to church together, had many a sleepover at their house and they spoiled me, as if I were their own. Needless to say, “Mom” Sarah, was one of our Sarah’s namesakes. We’ve have some pretty special other Sarah’s in our lives too, which helped sway us towards choosing our Sarah’s name. Now they’re together in heaven. I smile when I think about the hugs that were given.
The need to sing and make music was a part of my other family too. We had many a family sing along at get togethers or while camping. I’ve watched as my cousins have grown up making music and most of them serve in some capacity in their local church within the music ministry. Now their children are starting to do the same. I’m so thankful that we’re instilling in them the gift of music. I remember the first time Chad came to a holiday gathering and my cousins broke out guitars and we all started to circle up to sing some songs together. The look of fear in his eyes, I’ll never forget! I think he even questioned out loud, “What’s getting ready to happen?” We reassured him that we weren’t going to ask him to sing a solo or anything! Now, he rather appreciates those times, I think.
I think we all know that music, visual art, even the written word, can tap into feelings, and emotions that we sometimes find difficult to process. Research has shown that having a creative outlet can destress and clear your mind. Education Weekly published an article in 2013 which cited several research studies and the benefits of the arts for cognitive development. In essence what they are saying is that “art makes you smart!” Even used as therapy after a stroke or a physical debilitation, it is helpful for the brain to function better and benefits the patients recovery.
So, supporting the arts, and practicing creativity in some way has been so important to me as I am healing and learning to function with grief. It’s so therapeutic for me when I sit down and make music. Sometimes, I’ll pick up my guitar, but lately I’ve been drawn to the piano. I’m sure it’s because piano was Sarah’s instrument. When she would play, Chad and I would just soak it in. She was just a natural. I’ll confess that I have spent hours at the piano lately. My audience of “One” doesn’t care if I make a mistake or don’t quite get it right. It’s become my “sanctuary” of sorts. He just delights in the offering-even when it comes from a place of hurting. It’s a sacrifice of praise. He is a creative God. He loves to watch us create and make beauty from the dust. It’s what He did when He made mankind. Maybe the arts connect with us because of that. I really think that someday in heaven, that’s what we’ll be doing…creating things through the arts and it will glorify God, just as it does here now, but even more so when the curse of sin has finally been removed.
I believe, there is something creative that each of us was made to do. So, actually, we’re all “artsy” in some way. There are vast ways that we can express ourselves artistically now days. Sometimes it takes us longer to discover whatever that “thing” is-compared to others. Sometimes, it’s recognizable right away when a person is made to do something. Most of the time it takes practice and repetition. What do you create in order to connect with your inner artistic self? I’d love for you to share? How has it helped you through a difficult time?
Along this same line…The GLOW Fund(Sarah’s memorial) accepts donations of used, but playable instruments to be given to a young person who wants to learn to play. Your unused instrument could become a blessing to a young person who is discovering how The Creator has gifted them. If you have an instrument to donate, message me!