By Sister Sharon Havelak, OSF
I’ve taken up coloring again.
Actually, I started what would become my “spiritual coloring” back in the 1960s, long before I knew about mandalas and chakras, way before today’s coloring book craze. It’s become not just my own personal therapy, but a prayer form for me. It’s easy for me to get lost in the process of designing and coloring, and feel connected to God in the creative act.
This summer, I’ve also discovered it rewards me with a gentle sense of power. There isn’t much I can do about the violence in our world and sometimes it seems overwhelming. This summer, my sister Sue had a health crisis and, again, I was feeling powerless and frustrated. Sue’s always there to help everyone out (she made sure her contribution was ready for the family gathering before she drove herself to the hospital!), and there was nothing we could do for her. Sitting down in the quiet with colored pencils in hand became very healing.
Mid-July we were graced with the “Nuns on the Bus” visiting the Toledo area. Sister Simone Campbell gave us a four-point plan of action. Three of the points were what I’d expect, though with her special twist. We needed “Holy Curiosity” (digging out what the issues are and how they’re affecting people), “Sacred Gossip” (getting the first-hand stories, so the issues will be addressed with compassion), and to “Do Your Part.” Her somewhat surprising first point was that we need “A Bit of Joy.”
Prince Myshkin, one of Dostoyevsky’s character in The Idiot, declares that “beauty will save the world.” The deep truth of that statement gave me much hope this summer. Experiencing beauty, creating beauty, and connecting with the creative love of our God certainly became healing experiences for me. More than that, beauty has the ability to catch us up out of ourselves and unite us in profound, deeply human ways, to bring a quiet sense of joy.
In the midst of your everyday life, may you be blessed with beauty and goodness.