(From my 2016 Holiday Letter…)
2016 was not a good year. It was not kind to the health and well-being of some of those near and very dear to me. Then, on November 8th, America–not the America I thought I knew–elected a mercurial, bullying, racist lunatic, and I—along with many other like-minded citizens—fell into a trough of helplessness, depression, confusion and powerlessness.
In this atmosphere, writing anything, let alone a Holiday Letter is a challenge. It’s difficult to scribble cheerfully of the joys and accomplishments experienced before November 8th, but write, I will. Because I remember that it is precisely in times of darkness that I need to pull around me the powerful gifts of creativity: writing, photographing, and creating art. Up will come my pen, paintbrush, knitting needles, and my belief that these gifts are the torch that will light the way forward. I will rise.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rather than surrendering to despair, I call to mind moments of beauty that give me courage to forge ahead, creating art, sharing the power and joy of creativity, telling my stories, building a heart strong enough to weather the coming chaos of the next four years…
In looking through my photographs and blog posts, and recalling my work teaching knitting to cancer patients and bed-rest mothers, it’s clear that light is what suffuses everything. My favorite photos capture fleeting moments of light that are all the more perfect for their ephemeral nature. Moments when my eyes suddenly see clearer, see deeper, and more generously. I am filled with such gratitude at these times, pierced to the soul, that I am often brought to tears of gratitude and love. These moments also overwhelm me when a new knitter finishes their first project and looks at it with such radiance, happiness and pride, their identity transformed from “patient” to “creator,” from ailing to triumphing.
Creativity is transformative, powerful, and is literally in our hands. Creativity is the super power we need to gird ourseleves with, a force we can rely on as our centering, steadying core–especially during the next four years.
“Perhaps the butterfly is proof you can go through a great deal of darkness yet become something beautiful.” –unknown
Art and creativity have always brought light and hope to the world, even in the most dire, hopeless situations. They have pulled me from the abyss before, and they will illuminate these dark times. Let us rise together in 2017 and vow to use our gifts, our creative weapons to bring light and hope to the world. Choose to make rather than consume, to build rather than observe. Find your voice and make it heard. Look for the light and be a mirror. Rise.
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” —Albert Schweitzer