No doubt you have heard the advice, “don’t worry about (insert your favorite art or passion here) that’s not what’s important now. “We hear it from friends and strangers alike every time there is a crisis in our lives. It can be a health crisis, a family crisis, a marriage crisis, an employment crisis, or any of a hundred other personal crisis. Some of my closest friends have given me this advice on more occasions than I’d like to admit, including every one of the preceding categories. In turn, I have given that same advice back to my friends and more than a handful of strangers. Along with being lovingly given and with all good intention, the advice isn’t wrong. The advice in end is just unfulfilling. It’s a double-edged sword of sorts. You get the warm envelopment of someone’s best wishes and recognition of your acute trouble. But right after that moment you can be left with a colder wind, blowing the chill of a more superficial misunderstanding of your life.
For an artist, creative soul or any peddler of emotional currency, “………That’s not what’s important now” presents several problems. The advice is correct about the need to attend to the emergent problem at hand, so why does it seem to fall so flat after meaning so well? It may play unwittingly upon our most contrary of inner demons. If you’re a creative soul, you know those demons well. They are the demons of doubt, insecurity and envy. I suppose any statement that minimizes our creative pursuits, even out of correctness and caring, produces a backlash of anxious thought in the heart of the creative recipient. The Achilles heel of self-doubt never goes away in the creative soul; it just gets more manageable and less reckless. We want to believe that our songs, our sermons our paintings our books, our dance our drama and even our dreams are greater than anything else we own or have a relationship with. That belief is not folly; it’s just a subtle and mostly unrecognizable truth.
Our families, our health, our relationships and our daily responsibilities are all made important through our art. Our creative soul allows us to understand and communicate those needful things and important relationships and allows us to be who we are. Our creative soul gives us a sense of purpose. How can we love one another or even take care of ourselves without being true to who we are? How can we be good citizens in our communities or live up to our responsibilities without allowing our creative souls to reach untethered and to speak unmuted. I will try to remember the role of passion and purpose in my fellow creative souls the next time I give the loving advice of “That’s not important now.” Until that moment, I think I’ll write a song, sing a song, write a book and maybe even write a blog about all that I hold dear.
Mark Elliott – Runaway Home
“It’s the Music that makes Us Smile”