Due to the nature of my work, I attended a STEAM camp last week. Yep, a camp! It was for kids...but I went, too, along with my 11 year-old. For those unfamiliar, STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Of course, I had my expectations of the program, as it was my intention to learn some new things to take back and share with teachers in the school district where I work. I, instead, learned something more valuable.
At camp, we were taught to solder. We learned to use an online program to design an object to be 3D printed. We programmed small robots to move specific distances and to flash lights and make sounds. All of these activities were my idea of STEAM! One activity, however, didn’t seem as technological.
Once allowed, the kids were all grabbing at pieces and parts to get started. I was stifled. No ideas for a laptop-part sculpture would come to my mind. The possibilities were so numerous that I could think of nothing. And what about parameters? Budget? Approvals? Timeline? Size considerations? What’s the overall goal? What benchmarks should I check for to be sure I am on track? And what is the purpose of this? I STRESSED. And as I stressed, the kids nearly wiped out all of the parts. Once it was clear that the instructor was done with giving directions, I finally walked over to see what parts were left. As the kids had done, I picked up as much as I could carry and took it back to my work space. I stared at what I had to work with and was nearly brought to tears due to the anxiety of so many unknowns. Once my heart returned to its regular beating pattern, I began to look at the pieces in front of me and I tried to envision them as things they were not. I had 2 pieces that spun. One, I believe, had been a fan assembly to cool the computer motor. Holding it upright, it looked like a Ferris wheel. That’s what I decided to make it, a Ferris wheel in the amusement park I would sculpt.
As I worked on my sculpture, I realized that I am much too serious. I realized that I have allowed work to chisel away my creativity. I realized that sometimes, we don’t have to operate by someone else's parameters--that every project does not need to meet the approval of other individuals. I have two novels that I’ve begun writing, but can’t seem to keep my mind in fiction-mode long enough to complete them. Due to work, my writing has changed. My first four writing projects were novels. Now, my most recent books have been largely nonfiction—why? Because I’m taking life too seriously. Didn’t I write about numbering our days last week? Yeah. Sometimes we must take our own advice.
Maybe I'm not the only person taking life too seriously. As we number our days, let's not lose sight of who our Heavenly Father created us to be. He has given us talents and creativity, interests and abilities—all to glorify Him. Let us not get so caught up in the matters of our career or moving up the corporate ladder that we don't do the things that help us relax and meditate on how good God is. Sometimes, we've just got to stop and make a sculpture.
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.