While driving to work on Friday morning, I saw a sign announcing a garage sale. A small part of me mourned because I realized that the arrival of fall (which otherwise is cozy and delicious and aesthetically glorious) inevitably means that the garage sale season is swiftly coming to a close.
This is a downer. You see, garage sales lure me. I imagine what unlikely treasures I might find -- those unloved and unwanted cast-offs that are waiting to be transformed by someone who sees their potential.
By the time I arrived at my parking garage minutes later, I already had decided that I'd find a pocket of time during the weekend to start one final project I had hoped to complete during the summer: the refurbishing of an old wooden Lazy Susan.
Earlier this afternoon when my daughters were occupied, I gathered my materials and settled down to work, enjoying the quiet and the progress that slowly materialized, section by section, as I methodically stenciled.
There's something rejuvenating (therapeutic, even) about working with my hands. I know this about myself, and the realization forced me to confront an unspoken expectation that I had foisted upon my own shoulders: namely, that it was time to stop these artistic endeavors, this mere play, because my professional work has geared up with the start of the semester.
Foolishness. If anything, now is the time when I most need to devote a few moments for this purpose!
I think of my friends who have creative pastimes: a musician, photographers, a baker, an actress who performs in local theatre, a quilter who steals hours to sew after her young children go to bed, a paper crafter who makes intricate handmade cards, a home chef. I think of my fellow bloggers who string words together like pearls, setting forth their thoughts in beautiful arrangements.
Granted, from purely a pragmatic view, this world doesn't need any more musicians, or photographs, or cupcakes, or plays, or quilts, or cards, or salsa recipes. (It certainly doesn't need another blog post.) These areas are saturated.
But we need these things. We need the opportunity to put our hands to a task, to create, and to elicit beauty through as many senses as possible. Because something changes in our environment and in our hearts when we're in the presence of a beautiful thing.
Even my kitchen -- that kitchen with a full dishwasher, crayons scattered across the table, and a floor so sticky that I'm considering sandblasting it -- was transformed this afternoon when my husband snipped a few of the final summer rose blooms and displayed them on our countertop.
Those roses? They bloom for me and for my daughters. They exist for our pleasure, much like when I witness a particularly striking sunset and imagine God, the ultimate creative force behind beauty, painting it for the simple reason that He knew I'd enjoy it.
When we take the time to create something -- whether a song, a project, a craft, a meal, or a piece of writing -- its significance doesn't lie in the size of the audience who encounters it, as if merit were solely determined by scope.
No, the significance lies in the act of creating. We create because it's good for our souls, because we're wired to do so. We create because it's an offering to others.
It's enough to create beautiful things merely for the sake of beauty.