Hands writing while covered in messy rainbow paint

Last Chance? Don’t wait to create begin.

A head-and-shoulders picture of Andrew Chirch with water in the background

I’m Andrew Chirch, an Interfaith advisor and coach. 99 is a special weekly podcast series where we meet for 9 minutes to regroup, re-center ourselves, and prepare for the work ahead.

Subscribe here to listen on your favorite podcast app, or you can use the player at the top of this post. A transcript is below.

Do you want to know what Maya Angelou, the great poet, says about you? She said, “…we are all created creative and we can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.”

Did you hear that? Maya Angelou, one of the greatest minds of all time, Poet Laureate of the United States, says that YOU are creative!

Do you think she meant it? Do you think she meant me too?!

One of my favorite songs about this comes from a Unitarian Universalist singer songwriter named Jim Scott.

May your life be as a song,

Resounding with the dawn,

to sing awake the light.

And softly serenade the stars,

Ever dancing circles

in the night.

My friend, what Jim wrote about in those lyrics has already happened. If you turn around the lyrics from a wish – May your life be as a song – to a statement of fact, you might see what I mean. The topic for this step of our time together is creativity, the creator or source of creation in you.

A friend of mine has a father that spent over 30 years getting up in the darkness so that he could drive almost an hour to his job in a factory, then get off work in time to drive home and spend some time with his family and friends and do still MORE work around the house and his small farm.

I’ve never told my friend this, but I’ve always thought of his dad as a master – cultivating and curating the life that he wanted in the way he wanted it. Like a work of art that I’ll never be able to make.

I was recently listening to a great podcast about creative entrepreneurship – it’s called the fizzle show and in this particular episode, they were talking about how creative types can get stuck or blocked trying to make something. I instantly thought – HA! And you think it’s only artists or people who think of themselves as “Creatives” who suffer from this?

As I listened, I was both excited and frustrated – part of me was screaming WE ARE ALL CREATING something – All the time! Sure, people who think of themselves as artists, writers, painters, or whatnot have a tidy measuring stick for what they do – did I paint today? Did I write today? Did I create something?

But I feel like what was missed – and frankly what *I* miss too often is what Maya Angelou was getting at. From the time we are born to the time we die, everything we do is an act of creation. I had to look this up:  as of 2016, according to the World Health Organization, folks live for an average of 72 years. That’s 37,869,120 minutes…. each one is like a brush stroke on a canvas.

Sure, I can say, “Oh, I’m not being creative today. Thursday is my day to write. Today, I have to wash the car, pick up the kids from school, and call my brother.”

But in truth, when you die, your obituary is going to talk about the painting you made over the course of your life. It’s going to include the mess-ups and the victories. It’s going to include what you said to your kids when you picked them up from school. It’ll include how you called your sister – or didn’t. All of it is a part of the life we’re creating every minute…. and yes, the sparkly Instagram moments count – but so do the trollish things we say and do.

What are you creating? How are you creating it? If you think of your life as a bottle of ink, what letters are you writing? The possibilities are infinite. The supply of ink, however, is limited.

What are you waiting to do that you want on your life’s canvas? The ink in your bottle is leaving little by little. You’re writing with it every minute. You are creating something. Is it what you want to create? Let me put it another way:

Martin Luther King Jr. said,

“The question is not if we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

Friend YOU ARE CREATIVE. You cannot help it. What are you creating? What’s worth more than anything to you? What kind of creative extremist are you just born to be? The world needs you now. Your audience is waiting for you, listening for you, watching for you.

May you be a loving, radical, extremist. May you unleash whatever it is you’re here to unleash on the world. Whether it is something you think is art or not, get out there and sculpt the world that’s in front of you. Let yourself be amazed by something. Make a scene. Let yourself laugh out loud, or cry. Sing a new song, or an old one in a new way.

May your life be as a song,

Resounding with the dawn

to sing awake the light.

And softly serenade the stars,

Ever dancing circles

in the night.