I recently picked up a used copy of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet, the first installment of her Crosswicks Journal collection. I had seen references to it popping up here and there for weeks, and it became apparent after the third or fourth reference that I needed to get my hands on it. I got a used copy instead of a new one because my OCD in regard to new books has never fully abated, and I knew this was one book I wouldn’t want to worry about marking up. I was able to hold off until page seven. I have a feeling I’m going to wear my highlighter down to a nub before I reach page fifty-seven. It’s a good thing it isn’t new, either.
The book is full of food for thought, but I am absolutely gorging myself on what L’Engle says about creativity. Here is one particularly tasty morsel:
The moment that humility becomes self-conscious, it becomes hubris. One cannot be humble and aware of oneself at the same time. Therefore, the act of creating — painting a picture, singing a song, writing a story — is a humble act? This was a new thought to me. Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else. (11)
The truth of these words astounds me. For whatever reason, our modern culture views the act of creating as a selfish one; after all, don’t we all have better things to do than to immerse ourselves in our passions?
The Bible has this to say.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. — 1 Cor. 12
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. — Genesis 1:1
If the Creator of the universe humbled Himself to show us His profound love for us, then why do we continually believe that creating is selfish?