The lovely lady who cares for my children when I work is peeved. A few weeks ago her brother-in-law moved in with her family to live closer to work. He cleans up after himself and makes pleasant conversation. The problem is he’s often home first in the evenings but never starts a pot of spaghetti or tosses a salad. Instead he waits for his hosts to cook and serve him dinner. They are just as tired and hungry as he is at the end of the day. He can see this. It makes him uncomfortable enough for my babysitter to notice. He shifts in his chair. He almost-gets-up five-times-a-minute. But he never learned to cook and now he is stuck between cowardice and lack of skill. What should he do? It’s obvious to his hosts. He should learn to cook.
I’m reading Rollo May’s wonderful The Courage to Create and came across the following quote:
If you do not express your own original ideas and listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.
Also you will have betrayed our community in failing to make your contribution to the whole.
I thought about my babysitter’s brother-in-law’s failure to contribute for lack of courage to boil water.
This is where I am this morning, needing courage to contribute something to my community, something that is my own, that I have made or written. Like my babysitter’s brother-in-law I stand between cowardice and lack of skill. Rollo May reminded me Creative work is about feeding my Self and about contributing . If I do no creative work today I am letting more than myself down. I am failing to make my contribution to the whole.
Courage to do creative work comes and goes with mental energy. On days when I am lost my to-do-list (made in days past) saves me. It is my source of courage. Item #1 on my list: write three pages of long-hand dribble to get your mind flowing again. So today I will carry my notebook and write when I can– no pressure, except to put ink to paper.
As for my babysitter– she confronted her husband last night. You have to teach your brother how to cook, she said.
Today her brother-in-law will learn how to fry eggs. He’ll write the steps so he can repeat the feat tomorrow without help. Item #1 on his list: Remove 4 eggs from fridge.