Understanding Our Church

A Treasury of Arkansas Writers Discussing the Catholic Faith

Creativity, being present are ways to live spiritually to fullest

Published: April 20, 2019

By Judy Hoelzeman
St. Edward Church, Little Rock

“She lived life to the full.” It’s a phrase we might hear at a funeral or read in an obituary. Living life fully is a great goal to work toward. Thinking about our own death is not a bad thing if it moves us to thinking about how we are living our lives.

Jesus said in John’s Gospel, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b) Easter is all about living life fully. But, on the bleak days following Jesus’ crucifixion, his followers could comprehend only this: Jesus’ life was over; his death was a horrible, unjust tragedy. Their zeal for Jesus and his message was quickly replaced by fear for their lives. They ran and hid.

Only after the intervention of the Holy Spirit did the disciples come to believe that everything about Jesus — both his life and his death — had profound meaning. The Spirit empowered them to go and live life fully as Jesus had, preaching Jesus’ countercultural message. Like the disciples we will have to go against present-day culture to live life fully. It will take intentional, daily choices. Here are some things we might all try:

Like the disciples we will have to go against present-day culture to live life fully. It will take intentional, daily choices.

  • Be creative. Creativity, after all, is a gift from God. We should not devalue our talents or achievements. On the other hand, creativity is not restricted to talents.

Being creative means using our intellect to do something, anything, in a new way. Finding a new way to relate more positively with a family member is a use of creativity.

  • Be more aware of emotions. Our feelings are what make us human and whole. We experience a wide range of emotions, and unless we acknowledge them all, we don’t approach God honestly.

Feeling anger, despair, fear or sorrow does not mean we are being negative; these emotions do not offend God. They are painful, but they carry messages from God. Our lives are fuller and more authentic when we are in tune with our emotions.

  • Live in the present moment. I have heard that if we really learned to live in the present, we would never again lose our keys. Jesus tells us in Matthew’s Gospel to stay in the present when he says, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” (Matthew 6:34a)

Worrying about the future only keeps us from living in the reality of the here and now, robbing it of its significance. Paying attention to each moment removes the burdens of the past and keeps us from dreading the future. We can trust God to handle both of those.

In truth, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Practice paying attention to each moment and watch each day come alive.

  • Appreciate life’s simple gifts. It is not easy to notice simple gifts if we are surrounded by too many possessions or too much activity and responsibility. We may have to let go of something to have the time to seek out these simple gifts.

What better time than spring and the Easter season? What better place than out in nature? All of creation is coming alive, sprouting, budding, blooming, leafing, showing off God’s vast palette of colors. Nature does this without worry, without frantically trying to achieve, without unrealistic expectations. Notice, and thank God for the simple bounteous gift of nature.

Living life fully is a God-like goal, and this Easter season is the perfect time to begin to achieve it.

Understanding Our Church