Inspiration Is Not An Illusion
I sat alone in a brick-walled building. The sun shone in the window so brightly it would blind me if I turned my head. The waterfalls danced and glistened in my periphery on the other side of the glass. Adele sang perfection overhead, her words not meaning nearly as much as the emotion behind them. The warmth from that blinding sun coupled with a tender melody and simple, yet grand, backdrop gave me just enough comfort to relax but not quite fall asleep. These are the thin places where something divine seeps into the daily.
Inspiration is not an illusion.
Some will tell you it doesn’t exist, that you just have to get up and get to work. I kindly disagree.
Every good collection of written or spoken words I have ever offered were inspired. Sometimes the road to their discovery, or the process of pinching and pulling the phrases apart, has required work. Sometimes it has felt like one heavy foot pulled out of the mud and put down in front of the other over and over again, but inspiration does come. When it does, I try to cup my hands around it and catch it like a flitting butterfly. I don’t intend to keep it forever, like a prisoner. Instead I
release it back to the world.
It seems like a divine assignment I’ve been given. I love it and I hate it but I wouldn’t trade it. Taking experiences and emotions and weaving my words into them so they can be read, heard, seen, and felt by others feels like the core of my existence.
The Creator of all created things speaks to me in
angelic melodies and
sunny windowsills and
my children’s giggles and
the crusted over dishes in the kitchen sink and
the camellias bursting in the cold and
the words of a stranger on the pages of a book and
a million other offerings that surround me every day.
Some days I search high and low for inspiration, for something that contains enough life to be worth capturing and sharing. Other days it rushes in like a flood and I can’t keep up. On the flooding days I used to get frantic, running around with cups trying to scoop the good stuff up as quickly as I could. I would eventually wind up breathless, with nothing to show for my efforts – every cup knocked over and spilled in the racing. Now when the waters come I have a tendency to wave the white flag of surrender. I lay down and let the beauty cover me completely, saving the collecting and interpreting for another time. Absorbing and enjoying inspiration is okay too. Eventually I will stand back up and get back to the work of word weaving and grace giving again.
What if you did this one simple thing today –
Position yourself for inspiration.
It doesn’t take a week-long vacation on a beautiful beach or a perfectly planned trip to a cozy mountain town.
There is beauty on display all around. There is deep truth waiting just below the surface of our days. When we are drawn in by beauty and look closely for truth, inspiration is born.
Position yourself and then
We walk around blinded by hurry and worry.
Stop and touch the petals.
Stop and breathe in the tops of their little heads.
Stop and listen to the strings dancing delicately behind that voice.
Sometimes the lyrics cover up the loveliness and so we dig a little deeper into the music, into the woods, into the relationships, into the Word until the beauty bursts so full and true that we are inspired.
It is an ordinary rainy day around here – the perfect conditions for inspiration to come splashing out to play. When she does, leave your umbrella and raincoat behind. It’s time to get drenched.