“What else do you do?”
As a mother, I get the question often, and I always have an answer, “Well, I write. I’m working on some books; I have a blog.” And I feel good about myself for being able to say this. In fact, I would feel quite insecure if I couldn’t say it.
But I’m ashamed of that.
It’s a strange phenomenon. Most of us would say that the purpose of our lives is our relationships. And yet, most of us feel inadequate admitting that we spend most of our time and energy on those relationships. We feel inadequate if we are mostly “just” mothers, husbands, sisters, and friends, with hobbies and interests on the side. We feel inadequate if our job is a little mundane and commonplace. We say the point of life is love, but then we feel like losers if we don’t have some grander, worldlier passion and influence than love. It’s no wonder. Americans are raised on the concept of being especially unique. We are expected to be trendsetters, trailblazers, pioneers, celebrity artists. And certainly, this isn’t all bad. Some people really are meant to drop everything and go discover a new medicine or a new idea or a new instrument and we need to encourage those people to listen to that call.
But what in the world makes those people any better than anyone else? The answer, of course, is: nothing. Nothing makes them better. We think they’re better simply because they are famous. Their fame makes us acutely aware of the scope of their creative energy. And so the famous artist somehow seems more dignified than the stay at home mother. But she is not. Both are creators. One just happens to be creating something that is a little bit more public.
As a human being, I will always have the drive to create. But there may come a day when my creations become less public. There may come a day when my space of potential influence dramatically decreases. There may come a day when I have nothing left to write about. And I’d like to get to where I’m okay with that.
We must accept, no— embrace— that some people will compose great symphonies and others may simply turn them on to create a cozy living room. Both are essential for humanity’s participation in recreation.
So I will not be ashamed if what I create remains within a small space. If I am creating out of love (be it novels or be it chocolate chip cookies,) then I am living well and I am inspiring others to do so too. Indeed, it is often the smallest, humblest creations that are the most beautiful and true and good. It is often the smallest, humblest creations that deeply inspire and extend into eternity.