Creativity is so important to our lives. It literally can fuel us and give us something to live for; I was reminded of this recently, yet again.
A friend in Vancouver works with several bands and was subbing for someone in a fundraiser event. It was sold to me as a “magic show.” I said sure why not, support fellow artists, etc. Etc. I didn’t realize it was a fundraiser created by a family with a special mission.
This particular family I speak of lost their son/brother when he was only 6 years old, about 6 years ago. To navigate their grief and do something to honor his memory, they decided to raise money for causes in Africa, a part of the world this little boy had been fascinated by and would never see. Instead of just calling out to friends and family to donate in his name, these people decided to build fundraising events that bring smiles to everyone.
Can you imagine being in the depths of loss and thinking about creating? While I’ve spoken about the importance of creativity in all parts of our life including grief, I’ve always imagined or practiced it as a small, private creative practice. This family created a huge, amazing project to give back to others, honor their deceased loved one, and have some fun. This now yearly project is fueled by their loss.
While I only attended their recent event and 6 years have passed since their loss, the joy and playfulness with which they hosted the event was so obvious. Their selection of performances also made that more than clear; it was a night of magicians, illusionists and mind readers. One performer spoke of his first encounter with magic; he saw both parents and children engaging with a sense of wonder. This family, despite their pain, have brought wonder to people’s lives for years. Any while the ache may never, ever go away, it frames their loved one’s departure in a joyous, creative manner that gives back to community. They raised enough funds to build an entire school in Africa, and had the fortune of traveling to and visiting Kenya and the school they built.
I live a very fortunate life. I spend my time living in a foreign country that allows me to see and learn about places I never knew existed. I get to travel. But lately, I’ve been really missing family. It was awesome to go to Canada and visit my in-laws, and visit with friends in Vancouver. And it was made even more special with this reminder of the importance of creativity, the very reason I wanted to create and share Artist Strong with you. The ticket to happiness is honoring our creative needs, even in times of trial and pain.
While the arts are not the only way to express creativity, or have a healthy sense of self, they are integral to each and every person touched by a painting, the laughter created by the illusions of a magician, and a song written in the name of a little boy missed by his family. How much do we miss out on when we ignore that silent but secret wish to draw, learn guitar, or dance when no one (or everyone) is looking?
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How do you see creativity positively impact lives? I want to know. Share in the comments below.