Creativity: a contingency

Plan C: Make Lemonade

Creativity, Personal Muse-ings

“C” For Creativity. Creativity isn’t just for making art projects. Creativity is for making life better, no matter your circumstances.

As a child, I always wanted to be a mother when I grew up. That was plan A. There were several influences which contributed to this desire. The primary would be my religious beliefs. The second would have to be that my own mother was a homemaker and raised eight children. I love my big family. The idea of a career never really appealed to me. Another could have been simply that I didn’t really know anything else.

This didn’t really ever change as I got older, though I did learn more about what other pursuits interested me, as well as a broader definition of a career. After I got married, I was fully ready and prepared to put my education on hold for the higher and nobler calling of motherhood. But things didn’t happen as my husband and I had planned. So, on to plan B, I continued my education. I thought, the Lord knows I’m willing to quit school to be a mother, maybe He wants me to graduate. A few years later I graduated. In my personal prayers I started telling the Lord I was ready now. Still no children.

Struggling for answers to why my heart’s desire would be denied to me, wondering what the Lord wanted me to do instead, and even what I wanted to do with my life, I was faced with the awful reality that I hadn’t prepared a contingency. I had no plan C. The necessity of a plan C had never occurred to me.

Practical thinking said, get a job, but I already had two part-time jobs. Teaching positions, plus a few private art students. I was using my degree in art. The thing was that I had never really faced the reality of a career as anything more than temporary or in addition to being a mother.

Facing the reality of plan C after I graduated was a very discouraging and emotional time for me, and I hid this fact from most who knew me, further isolating myself from friends and associates.

What ultimately rescued me from depression and despair was the realization that I’d been given an opportunity. Rather than despairing over my inability to change my circumstances, I needed to focus on being happy doing what I could. There were a lot of things my friends with small children couldn’t do. I’d majored in fine art (entirely impractical, I know) so now I’d have to get creative with my creativity. Rather than focus on what I didn’t have, I started asking myself what else I wanted. What were the things I’d told myself “maybe someday?” Publishing a book was one of them. So, in need of a plan C, I decided to see if this was “someday.”

I know I’m not alone in saying life isn’t always what we expect or want it to be. But there are always possibilities that will bring joy. As Maria said in The Sound of Music, “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” The Lord doesn’t always give us what we want, even if it’s a righteous desire. God gave us a portion of his creative powers. (Read more about Art and Creation here.) Sometimes we have to get creative with our contingencies.

Our greatest disappointments just may turn out to be unexpected opportunities, perhaps for something we never would have considered otherwise. Instead of being a mother, I have two dogs, a Bachelor’s degree in fine art and I’m writing a novel. I never would have planned my life like this, but I’m happy. And the next time life hands me lemons, I already have a recipe for lemonade. The key is being creative.

How have you made lemonade out of life’s lemons? Share in the comments.

10 thoughts on “Plan C: Make Lemonade

  1. I’m glad you found a way to be happy. I do a lot of dog sitting…a little too much in fact. But it keeps my mind off kids for a while. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Loren, happiness can be an arduous journey sometimes. There is so much to be grateful for though, like love and support from family and friends.

  2. Norma,
    Beautifully written. I also have found through also facing the struggles of not having children, that if I look at the things I can control and do, it helps with those days of despair and heartache. I’m thankful for the knowledge that if I live worthy I will have the privilege to have a family in the eternities.

    1. Thanks Tara! You are absolutely correct, faith plays a significant role too. And it helps to know you’re not alone. 😉

  3. I appreciate hearing your perspective, Norma; it is optimistic and inspiring. Thank you, too, for your art. I hope you don’t mind me saying, but my feeling is there are more ways than one in which we can participate in the divinity of creation. “It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” – Vincent van Gogh

    1. Thank you, Melanie for your comment. That was exactly my point as well, there are many important applications for creativity.

  4. I love your optimistic attitude! You have always been such a special person to me! I’ve made a lot of lemonade in my life and it’s made me who I am today! And I’m happy with who I am. I think its awesome that you are happy with who you are now you can continue making lemonade and being happy! Your artwork is amazing!! Love, Frankie😊

    1. Thank you Frankie for you comment and compliments. Lemonade is always sweeter when sharing it with a friend. 🙂

  5. Norma. You have always amazed me with your quiet strength. Reading this blog post if yours encouraged my heart. I have been struggling with that “not having a plan C” for some time. And yet I too have realized that the moments we find the joy in the journey is when we can have that refreshing lemonade. Even if it’s hard. I found taking it one day at a time and trying to find something good in THAT day helps me to move forward. Thanks for being you. 🙂 miss ya

    1. Thank you Ellen for your comment and compliments. this was a difficult post for me to publish because of the personal nature of the content. it never ceases to amaze me how universal are our feelings despite the differences in all our individual and unique struggles. I am grateful for all the support and empathy I have found in response to this message. Lemonade is definitely tastier with friends. (maybe that needs to be a post.) 🙂

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