My husband goes to work every weekday to a job where he “draws” wiring diagrams for a giant aerospace corporation. I put “draws” in quotes because there are no pencils or paper involved or even possible. He designs them remotely, on screens, using software which management has been informed repeatedly is almost unusable and makes the work a living hell.
He marvels at how the other people there seem personally invested in their various projects and all the intrigues involved. Though he is the most conscientious worker you’ll meet, and he is the sole occupant of a niche which is very secure, his work philosophy is this: You hired me to do a job; I do it; you pay me and leave me alone after work hours.
This man is an artist. He is a painter, a writer, and a musician. I do not mean he is a hobbyist. His short story was one of 13 finalists in the Writers of the Future competition published in its 2011 edition. He writes all the time. When he is quiet I know he is working out a story problem in his head, or rather he is watching while his creative mind unfolds the story and its meanings. You’ll think I’m biased, but I really think he is one of the three or four best writers I’ve ever read. I won’t embarrass him by telling you who I think he shares company with.
His degree is in painting. His watercolors and drawings have won best of show in regional exhibitions. He is dedicated to his work here too, painstaking and patient, because that’s what his kind of work requires. (Mine would only require the lazy acceptance of accident and serendipity.)
He plays guitar, he sings, he writes, all beautifully. He is creative musically in ways I cannot comprehend. We immerse ourselves in music.
He thinks like an artist, not like an engineer. His nature is to think beautiful, insightful thoughts and put them into creative context so that they can be both enjoyed and comprehended.
He has no business spending 40 + years of weekdays laboring in a gray cubicle in a suffocating dark room full of computers and engineers. Getting up at 4 am so that he can be at work by 6 so that he can be home by 2:45 so that he can be available at home while things need to be done.
For all his diligence, though we live frugally indeed, we will die in debt if we live to be 100.
I haven’t mentioned his most creative work.
This man decided he loved me at the age of 17, married me a few years later, and agreed to bring several children into the world with me. That’s real creativity.
Eight people on one income is a lifestyle of making something substantial from almost nothing. Every day is another piece of his creativity made real, unstinting and unstudied, and usually unnoticed, as he works out the millions of the devil’s details in a life that grinds him to powder.
So he submits to a life of gray cubicle-ism, too little sleep and much too much worry. My husband is a creative person created by a Creative God who asked him to create a life, not only for himself, but for his family. God asks us to serve one another, to live our lives as though He is there and has real relationship with us, to represent Him by doing the hard things, to spend ourselves in serving other people. He asks us to submit to being poured out like water and not replenished.
If you don’t think that requires creativity, you’re doing it wrong.