When I was young, I wanted to change the world, I wanted fame and fortune, I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to inspire and be inspired. Naturally, I went to Art College.
Ten years later, when I wasn’t as young, I was still sure that I wanted to change the world, to make a difference, to inspire and to be inspired. Of course, I quit my job working in the Art department of my local University and went to study Theology.
So now I’m an alleged grown up, I have an art degree (in Sculpture) and a qualification from a Theological College to boot (in Applied Theology, no less!!) – so all I’m really qualified to do is paint religious pictures, and I kind of feel the market for ikons is a kind of niche one!
How pointless was my time in tertiary education?
To be fair, I enjoyed it all … but I look back at what I did and find myself asking a somewhat inevitable question …
“What was the point?”
I’m not beating myself up here, or asking for validation – it’s just a real question I’ve got.
The answer I seem to have most of the time is something like what follows …
Creativity is a vital aspect of us all; if you’re not engaged in some way with a creative process in your life – a hobby, a job, a task, a way of trying to get the best out of (and put your best into) something – then you’re missing out on what it means to be really, and fully you. Orthodox Christianity talks of a Creator God, who made humanity in His image – for me, that means that there’s a spark of creativity built-in to each and every one of us; furthermore, it also challenges me to make the most of that part of me.
My current job sometimes sees me sitting in front of endless pages of spreadsheet information, and my colleague(s) sometimes laugh at the way I colour-code it all, saying that all I’m doing is making pretty patterns, and I whilst I occasionally think that might be mostly true, it feels like – and here’s the rub – all the ‘colouring in’ allows me to take the mass of information, the raw facts and figures, and see the patterns, the trends and maybe even some of the possible reasons and solutions to what I’m looking at.
It’s the beauty and the colour of things that makes it easier for me to see the story behind it all.
Okay, so my qualifications might not be viewed as the most ‘practical’ they could be in the eyes of most, maybe even somewhat irrelevant and self-indulgent too (and I’d agree that the need for artists and theologians isn’t perhaps the most pressing requirements of our times) – but I’m sure that the creativity that drove me in to both areas is something that is not just practical, but possibly compulsory.
I also think that it’s the same for you …