I’ve got a thousand thoughts going through my mind. How intimidating it still is sometimes when I gaze at the empty page. I can retrace earlier thoughts as I did the dishes because how many times do I receive inspiration when that dish zone focus shows up. The number is countless. We’ve been married for twenty-two years, and if you multiple that times three meals a day then you get countless.
Espresso has been involved since day one. There I am in the middle of washing the dishes, and I look over at my thermos of espresso deciding to enjoy another shot. I poured the espresso in a pot on the stovetop, and I turned the dial to medium as I’ve done a plethora of times over the years. I down the shot of espresso minutes later, and that dish zone continues to go strong, and after several more mundane tasks I fill the antique salt dish with Morton salt. I wasn’t even close to getting here to be intimidated by the empty page because there was the bed to make ready for night retirement, take the trash out and shower, but alas here I sit doing one of the things I love doing.
The cobwebs in the mind are limitless like the inspirations, but that’s not what I would call an incredible conversation I had earlier. I left that conversation, and when I saw my old apartment nostalgia went into gear, and the hope I had then revisited this depression mind. I’m cruising down a Nashville pike headed home, and I felt like I could leap a building in a single bound, but I’m clearly not Superman, but it didn’t matter because the zone had begun even before Carey cooked dinner.
I don’t know what comes up when you google Michael Jordan zone, but I tell you this, when Michael Jordan got into that zone sports commentators waxed on about there was no stopping him. I think one commentator called it poetry in motion. I here Berlin crooning Take My Breath Away on the VHS tape we watched Michael Jordan hi-lights before games. I’ve never forgotten that. That soundtrack continues to play through my mind when epiphany partners with inspiration. It can happen during NBA championship games, doing the dishes, writing or cleaning a house. The caffeine in the espresso no doubt makes a statement as it courses through my body. Years of depressive moments, rejections and failures also drive that desperation, but if you’ve ever performed or been so engrossed in your work that everything around you disappears then you know what I mean. There is nothing boring about it even if you’re preparing a budget for an accounting firm. If passion and focus co-exist nothing can stop you. A book called Free Play might open your mind to this elusive discipline. Improvisation is not just for actors and musicians. It’s for all of us who feel strongly about any particular thing be it playing basketball or writing.
I think if you summed it up in one sentence it would be something like the following. Creating something that never was until you brought it about. That is at our core. We were made in the image of an invisible God who created the planet we inhabit by his spoken word. There is no greater mystery unless you want to discuss the pardon we got from death. Creation is limitless as God is limitless. Had I not written this essay it would not exist. Had my brother Jason not created the podcast 8 Stories Tall it would be dormant.
Dormant is a heavy word too. Why does death exist? Why do marriages fail when they begin with such passion and focus? That passion and focus fail. When I was trying to learn to play the guitar for small group worship that went down in a blaze of glory. Recently I was trying to learn Spanish, and that went down in a blaze of glory, but I did confess to the creator of the organization that was teaching me and another teacher in that organization that I had not ruled out learning Spanish. And I haven’t. I haven’t ruled out leading small group worship with a guitar, but the blocks to creation are as plentiful as the inspirations to creation. Evil is palpable isn’t it? It surrounds us like good. There will come a day when evil will be annihilated. You don’t have to have gone through a world war, pandemic, or terminal illness to know that the world is evil. That’s why this inspiration I write about is so important. Someone needs you to create what you are creating. Don’t stop. Too many people give up. They throw in the towel. Are there things you need to quit? Of course! Quitting is not the same as giving up. We all quit things. Relationships, hobbies, languages, school and marriages. Some things are too mired in evil to perpetuate the disfunction. I don’t know when the point of no return is, but likely if you’ve lived long enough you’ve been there many times before.
My sixteen-year-old daughter has already been through hell. She knows evil. I don’t have to point it out to her because it screams in her face everyday. I pray she doesn’t have to suffer with depression the way I have, and I think we’ve created a family of origin for her that she won’t. Even if she does she knows beyond the shadow of a doubt we are a cleft in the rock with the Father as she creates.
We must not ever apologize for attempting to create even when we fall face down in the arena. And there’s not a single person on Planet Earth who that does not apply. May we always be open to hope even if years of despair precede that hope.