The Muse

Some people are extremely talented, or at least appear to be.  Their every move seems to be effortless.  Every brilliant idea they portray seems to come very natural for them.  I was not so blessed.  If I’ve ever done anything noteworthy, it has been the result of hours of preparation or years of perfecting mistakes.  On rare occasion, though, I find myself visited by what I call, The Muse. 

During these times I feel inspired.  I feel as if nothing else matters at that very moment except for the manifestation of this thought transformed into a brilliant creation.  Let’s back-up a little.   Most days I wake up feeling like the most unimaginative person on the face of the earth.  Perhaps due to the chaos of my childhood, I need stability.  I am a person who loves structure and routine.  I find much more comfort in the safety of the ordinary and during these times the thrill of adventure couldn’t be further from my thoughts.  My life would be complete if I never encountered a single surprise again.

The story doesn’t end there.  What I find is that life often requires of us to reach down inside, find our natural strengths, and put our talents to good use in order to fill a void.  This is when The Muse comes to visit.  We are all born with natural tendencies, interests that we are naturally drawn to, whether it be nature, building, cooking, mechanics, art, music… the list is infinite. 

 Throughout history,  some of the most talented artists have risen from the deep pits of poverty and struggle.  In my own life I have found this to be true as well (just not quite as phenomenal).  I once paid to have my dog groomed only to be sadly disappointed by what I saw when I picked her up.  From that time on, I found that I was very capable of the same and even improved with each session.  Again, when my three-year-old daughter decided that she wanted strawberry cake for her birthday, I found myself needing to find an alternative solution.  The local bakery already charged an enormous price for a simple chocolate or white cake but there would be an extra charge for strawberry.  When seeing that a cake mix in the local grocery cost less than a dollar at that time and a simple cake decorating kit was less than twenty, I decided that I would, from that day on, decorate my own cakes.  I’d always enjoyed this sort of thing anyway and this gave me the motivation I needed.  Of course, this also gave me the opportunity to wait upon The Muse.  As an added benefit, I noticed that my ‘homemade’ cakes often tasted better resulting  in less being wasted.  Besides, I can’t imagine how much a bakery would have charged to make a S’mores cake a few years ago for my son’s birthday.  We’ve enjoyed a variety of cakes since.

Lack of finances has not always been cause for need of The Muse.  Necessity has been called the ‘Mother of Invention.’  In a pinch, caused by lack of time or even resources, our creativity is spurred into action.  Surprisingly the results are often better than if it had been planned.   Working in VBS and various other children’s programs at church has often required the use of bright ideas in the production of sets, costumes, snacks, and crafts.  Sometimes just attempting to convince children to try a new food or to find the pleasure in an activity requires us to dig deep into creativity.  I’m thankful for when The Muse comes to visit, bringing peace and enjoyment to any circumstance.

During times of extreme stress or emotional overload I have found The Muse to open doors of artistic expression.  Writing has allowed me to express emotions that otherwise might have caused me to explode and in fact when I didn’t put those emotions to good use, I have indeed done just that.  In my most treasured collection of memories I have a few songs and poems that, when I look back on them, tell the story of exactly what I was going through at the time.  I can also see the ‘conversation’ that would arise between The Muse and myself, always leading me to encouragement and wisdom.

The Muse will at times impress me to do something for someone.  One morning while in my kitchen making a pot of vegetable soup, an overwhelming feeling come over me to take it to a family in need.  The delivery of the soup resulted in a very pleasant visit which was,  perhaps, more necessary than the soup itself.  Whether you feel impressed to share a simple batch of cookies or an elaborate Thanksgiving meal, always be sensitive to The Muse.  Your meager efforts will always be rewarded beyond your imagination.

For several years I was blessed to have a day off throughout the week.  On this day, after finishing necessary chores, or just needing to take a break, I would go out to run errands or browse at a local store.  So many times I would find myself being in the right place at the right time, crossing paths with a dear friend in need or someone I hadn’t seen in ages that I was able to encourage.  I would often joke about my ‘shopping ministry.’  Even now you couldn’t convince me otherwise.  Seriously, though.  Do we have multitudes of opportunities or are we set upon predestined paths when we are sensitive to the call of The Muse?

Of course, by now I should hope, you should recognize the identity of  The Muse.  It is my Heavenly Father.  Without God’s leading and guiding, we are nothing more than a useless mound of flesh and blood taking up space.  Just as an instrument cannot play itself or sounds distinctly different in the hands of an amateur as compared to the very capable talent of a master musician, our lives are much more productive and can accomplish unimaginable tasks when being led by the Great Master, Jesus Christ.

I must say, though, the greatest of all accomplishments are not necessarily on display in fine museums or even found in the headlines of your local newspaper.  Showing kindness to others, participating in people’s lives, and contributing to society to the best of your ability speaks volumes into the heavens.  Every word you speak or action you perform, when done to the best of your ability and done in accordance to the Word of God, is beneficial to the lives of those around you.  After all, isn’t that the point? No man is an island living only to themselves.  Instead we have been placed as an integral part into the workings of a machine called life.  So find your Muse and begin to live.