It’s a busy season in this household. There are more pots on the stove than arms to stir them. Sometimes my husband and I turn to each other for a hand and find the other is busier yet. We have, as we have had since Oxford days (that far-removed and oft-remembered other life) an ongoing conversation about stress. Recently he sent me a link to an article on this topic by Jon Bloom. Bloom calls it “the priceless grace of pressure,” claiming its presence both pushes us to perform and causes us to rely in greater measure on God. Or so we hope. It is certainly true that “necessity tends to produce resourcefulness” but do “deadlines induce creativity”?
I used to think deadlines squashed creativity. But come to think of it, when faced with an approaching deadline one hasn’t time for the paralyzing wafflings of perfectionism. It’s time to do the best you can with what you have. Also, as I have previously noted, when pressure looms we Type-A types have a secret: Do Something Else. If that something is a creative something, then, yes, deadlines make me creative.
I like to make a new wreath for the front door every month, usually from greenery or branches I collect around the place. In July it didn’t happen because we were traveling for four weeks. When we returned, I was greeted with the shriveled remains of June’s ivy wreath. The beginning of August was really full: we were hosting dear friends visiting from out-of-town, I was preparing to start our school year, we had medical appointments and dental appointments and who knows what. So naturally I spent an hour making a wreath of driftwood for the door. It’s a project I thought of last year but hadn’t gotten to yet (most of the wood was sitting in a vase on the dining room sideboard for six months). I gained a few more interesting pieces on the shores of Lake Superior in July, so it seemed like the thing to do. Side note: I love it.
Another creative project this week: orange marmalade. This one has been stewing since June (in my mind, not on the stove). Monday was our first day of school and it feels like my job just quadrupled in difficulty so of course I made marmalade on Tuesday afternoon. Priorities.
What’s one more pot to stir? And the aroma in the house was heavenly. I said that out loud and my kindergartener instantly wanted to know why heaven smells like oranges. “It just . . . does,” I answered from a haze of citrus fumes. I’ll probably have to straighten that one out later.
The pressure made me do it.