Plain and Simple

Working in Bethany guest house is a creative opportunity. Not creative in the usual sense – it isn’t musical, oils on canvas, or a sonnet written or spoken. It is, however, a compilation of mundane beauty that can touch a heart or bring a smile. We recently housed a small retreat where a summer lunch was served. The chef and I chose a clear cut glass plate with matching bowl for the veggie stacked sandwich and cold asparagus soup she was serving. I liked it, but wasn’t totally satisfied. Ah ha! Tucked away in a drawer were some whimsical glass fish napkin rings. I cleaned them up and found nicely ironed white linen napkins. My shift ended before lunch was served, but I’m told those on retreat noticed the cheerful setting as they enjoyed the delicious food. Simple things can make a difference.

Blu’s View: Hey Blu Don’t Be Afraid

The day he arrived, Blu, in his rambunctiousness, misjudged his first step and skidded down the steps on his stomach. No fun at all, especially because the edges of the granite were a little sharp, and at eight weeks old he was away from his mom for the first time.  And he was already exhausted.

For a long time after that he mistrusted almost every stair that he had to go down. More often than not, each step was studied then negotiated very purposefully. Unfortunately, this approach led to a couple of more minor mishaps, which only seemed to strengthen his opinion that he couldn’t be too careful with stairs. We knew he wasn’t generally fearful. He was already launching himself full-bore onto our much larger five-year-old Toller, just to incite a little fun and excitement.

One day Blu was racing back and forth across our refectory. Typically, he misjudged things a little, and ended up running up the long stairway. He looked around, and there he was at the top of the stairs. It sure looked like “OOPS!!” may have crossed his little face. With the next breath he headed back down almost as fast as he had come up.  And, of course, it was a successful descent. I wanted to pick him up and say, “There! See?  You can do stairs. Just stop thinking about it and trying so hard.”   

A quotation from Ray Bradbury, that I saw at the kid’s home-school open house last night put it perfectly: “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It is self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”