Lego spirituality

When I started writing this blog, a whole three days ago, I was a bit unnerved by the anxiety of not having anything to write about. Now I can’t seem to stop!

As a student and fan of film, photography and various art forms, I never realized until today that what I appreciate about these crafts was first learned playing with Legos. I have no idea how other people play with Legos, but to this day (I am 40), even when playing with my children, I thrive to build things that are functional and aesthetically graitfying, only to break it down and rebuild it. Perhaps it’s the whole design behind Legos that lends itself to a play cycle of vision-creation-destruction-revision-recreation. The Lego film actually captured this masterfully!

The temptation is to keep, preserve and even worship the culminating product — whether it’s a unique Lego car, a photo, painting, or one’s college GPA. To tear something down that seems to embody our blood sweat and tears is almost like losing one’s child. So much of our invisible self is tied to it. A woman who asked to be buried with her Ferrari comes to mind. It is also probably why so many musicians produce a classic first album and never transcend the bar they themselves have set, and why 99% of sequals to good to great films are mediocre at best.

I really like this idea of the creative cycle driving my life towards new experiences of learning self, God and of love. I look at this heap of random Legos and I see opportunity and challneges. But when the working material is no longer legos, paint, or files on a digital media device, but my health, finances, relationships then I seem to get clingy.

Steve Jobs’ told the graduates at a Standford Commencement speech: “stay hungry, stay foolish.” I really respect that about Steve. He could have died the richest man in the world if he leveraged his return to Apple. But his second rodeo wasn’t about wealth but, vision-creation-destruction-revision-recreation.

Sadly, even religious organizations have a difficult time living out this spirit of creativity and wonder. We are encultured to go from growing in numbers to growing in assets and then to growing in influence. Such is why so many religious organizations lack the energy found among creative communities.

Perhaps the most signifcant difference between building Legos, only to restart a new challenge, versus the life matieral we work with is that we are actually not in control. Unlike a Lego project I am not the master of my own destiny (not trying to debate this philosophically). I have certain choices but ultimate things have been chosen for me: the family I was born into, my gender, ethnicity, and so on). Hence, to be a participant in a Lego project called life without full control requires something people seem to describe as faith…this is not easy.

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