This post is the second in a series of articles highlighting the link between creativity and spirituality. The text below was written by Dominican Sister of Hope Donna Brunell.
Three summers ago, I got to explore the beautiful Yosemite National Park. Its vast expanse of high peaks, gushing waterfalls (as much as they could gush in a time of drought!), and forest pathways exude a profound sense of peace. It is truly one of God’s great masterpieces of creation!
While in the Visitors’ Center there, I was especially moved by a display honoring John Muir, a naturalist who devoted much of his life advocating for the preservation of wilderness areas. On the wall appeared his words: “Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” I took a picture of the quote, have since committed it to memory, and share it with others whenever I get the chance.
The older I become, the more convinced I am that one’s vitality is determined as much by the beauty that surrounds us as by the foods that nourish us. Likewise, work and play must be constant companions. In our day, creating a balance is indeed a challenge. In my everyday ministry of creative outreach, I try to be conscious of the need so many of us have for healing as well as cheer in our daily lives. I try to discern positive and creative ways of gathering to listen to the movement of the spirit: today’s good news that too often goes unnoticed.
In these uncertain and sometimes scary times, listening to the movement of body and spirit seem ever more essential. It was so for Mary at the Annunciation, for Elizabeth when the child in her womb encountered the Child in Mary’s, and for Joseph when warned by an angel to take a different route.
I pray this Christmas that God will continue to bless us all with the ability to be agents of healing and cheer, beauty and creativity, laughter and peacefulness, that will make our lives “gush” with renewed vitality!
-Donna Brunell, OP