The Ingredients of Creation

Originally published in 2010 as “Hope, Faith, Love” I have revised this post to mark National Poetry Month and specifically Poem In Your Pocket day tomorrow, April 30. I will be carrying and sharing the piece by Reinhold Niebuhr below. Please choose a selection that you love – that moves, inspires, comforts or unsettles you – and share it generously and energetically with your family, friends and colleagues. We need more poetry. We need more of the ingredients of creation.

“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.”

– Reinhold Niebuhr, From The Irony of American History

I am wrestling with the idea of creation. I am wrestling with the truth that any act of creation requires far more than the actual doing of the thing; far more than a “Eureka!” moment that galvanizes action. I am wrestling with the realization that creation, as a choice, requires letting go of what I think it should be to make the space for what it may become.
If I choose to be among the creators, I choose to start something that cannot be finished; something that may not be understood; something that will demand an unmatched level of connection to and relationship with others. If I choose to be among the creators I walk a new path rather than one well-worn by the cavalry of what’s gone before. 
Niebuhr provides us with the framework against which to apply our creative aspirations. I can almost hear him urging us to let go of completion, sense-making and the trap of perfectionism. He is urging us to trust that beginning is enough. If it is of deepest meaning to us, begin it. And, once begun, follow where it leads, nurture it to strength and call on the help of all who will help it grow.
Is it worth doing? Is it true and beautiful? Does it call forward the contributions of others?
Then, with hope, faith and love in your heart, begin it.
DAVID BERRY is the founder of RULE13 Learning. He writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world, especially the parts where he doesn’t handle it very well. If you enjoyed this post someone else might, too. Please pass it along.

3 thoughts on “The Ingredients of Creation

  1. Thank you David for such a beautiful reminder. I am one of those who needs to be reminded of this. As a new entrepreneur, there is always a constant feeling to get the business to a place where is branded and ready to go…yet that never happens. It’s fluid and constantly evolving and unfolding. There is no place of arrival. Thanks you!

  2. Hi David! I think you just explained art. Let me say, some art. If one is representational, then I would say no. But the rest of us may begin with a singular thought and let it lead where it will, with no known outcome in mind.
    Hello’s from up North-

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