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Out of the Depths

The “depths” in life come in a lot of forms.

I hear the psalmist’s plea, “out of the depths I cry to you O LORD.” And I am taken to the pits of despair. But despair is not the only place of depth in life. Grief has its own depth as do friendship and love and longing.

Depth is one of those metaphors that gets at the more of life. That about which we don’t say, we only carry it around in the tender spaces beneath the surface. The ancient memories and stories which make us who we are, but which we cannot wear on our sleeves. The feelings which run as currents for good or ill, like underground rivers and reservoirs. The knowing that is not reducible to facts, figures or logical statement, but which looks more like imagination, creativity or wisdom.

It is out of such depths of love, grief, memory, hope, despair, longing and woundedness that rich creative impulses arise. The processes of creation and collaboration (creating intentionally with others) are energizing. Life giving.

Like seeds that sprout and grow, the ocean teeming with creatures and whole realms of being, the volcano filled with molten lava, lightening from a cloud, fire in the soul, from depth comes power. Not just power that dominates, but one that gives life itself.

This video is a window into one creative process: the making of Chamber Music led by Esperarza Spalding and shared by many friends and collaborators. They work from depth . . . depth of knowing, feeling, thinking and practice. They bring to the collaboration a kind of depth of skill and knowledge and friendship and readiness to work improvisationally.

The cries that they make with their music – out of the depths – are those of a creation turning to the Creator, one who is present in the making and in the beauty of what is made.

Spalding says, “The most beautiful things emerge from chaos.” From the depth of unknowing, we might say.

God of Lent, give us the courage to face our own deep places and to speak, sing, love, and create from that depth.