Drops Like Stars: A Few Thoughts on Creativity and Suffering
In his book, Drops Like Stars, Rob Bell quotes – among other people – Catherine of Aragon, who said, “None Get To God But Through Trouble.”
It was never meant to be easy, was it?
This is the tension of our world…this disconnect between what we are told, that this or that will make it easy, and the fact that for the 99% of us, this life is often unbearably hard. Each day is is filled with these highs and lows, these moments of joy and agony. And what are we to do with it all, in the light of what many of us believe to be the “good news” of the gospel of Jesus? How can we be what we are meant to be? These questions are big, and when in the valley of shadows, very hard to see the fairness of the reality we see and the mirage presented by celebrity, et al. So, how do we be authentic? How do we be creative, each of us in our own way in the face of much suffering? These are the types of questions Bell asks us to consider in this book that uses words, images and a whole lot of questions for our consideration. The premise is such, that the most authentic people are those who move from great suffering towards a creative response. I tend to agree, in that I don’t think the greatest art comes from sadness but from those who use art as their own catharsis to move forward with their lives. We need to see suffering as the last wall between us and the discovery of the best of ourselves. The interesting thing about this book, as with most of the writings by Bell, is the truth in confronting those topics and questions most Christians don’t want to acknowledge. Many people expect and present religion as a miracle cure-all for life’s problems. And that viewpoint has very little to do with the narrative of God and humankind. Suffering is simply a part of our lives. The world is very much broken, and we are all very much humans. It doesn’t surprise me that many people walk away from religion that promises much and often does not deliver an instant miracle. The truth is that we can never see our dreams come true without the suffering to propel us into realizing our passions by our own belief that a greater God created us to do a certain thing with our lives. If we never suffered, we would never know ourselves. Rob Bell asks us to see the good in the midst of the pain. It just might be the best thing that ever happens to any one of us.