“When I woke up and the dark wasn’t gone yet, and the dark seemed so big, then she sang soft and made the dark small again.”

That is the best of all things we can do for one another: Make the dark small.

Dean Koontz, Brother Odd

These are very challenging days for me. The graphic loss of a parent was followed immediately by the global pandemic. I have spent a godawful amount of hours recently in alternate worlds, many of them through the medium of video games. And that got me thinking.

While doctors and engineers help to make life possible, creative people help to make it worthwhile (or, at least, more bearable in the tight spots).

I firmly believe that writers, actors, comedians, musicians, spiritual creatives, game developers, and all their kin are doing holy work that is at least of equal importance as what happens in labs and hospitals.

As I get older, I also understand that things like coping, grieving, maintenance of the simulacrum of sanity, or even just surviving — these things constitute a challenge that each person must figure out how to surmount in their own way.

I wonder whether it would be wiser occasionally to refrain from judging so much, from disdaining the color or shape of others’ chosen life-preservers and simply to remember that we are all swimming through storms. And I will always be grateful that humans, for all their faults, are capable of creating whole worlds from nothing, and of sharing those worlds with millions of others.

Above all, I hope that everyone who wants to create, but who hears society saying “that’s a waste of time and money and brains” — I just hope they can see what a colossal load of bunk that is. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and Anberlin and Linkin Park saved my life in my teens and early twenties, and I would wager the same is true for millions more.

So, listen to your heart and ignore your doubts and fears. Go make stuff and brighten the world! It matters, far more than made-up dollar signs could possibly measure. Damn the critics, and to hell with fear and self-doubt!

Image Credit: 123RF (used under license).

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