Struggling Creatively


My ancestors are Swedish. My great-grandparents came to the US in the 1880s. Not too much of Swedish traditions were passed on to me. One thing that was passed down to us was Swedish food. I knew about limpa, ingladt sil, potatiskorv, lingenberry, sylta, rotmos, gloog, rice pudding, lutfisk, among other things.

One time, my aunt and uncle went to Sweden to visit some cousins who live there. They were treated well and there was much good food to eat. My aunt and uncle noted the general absence of what they considered to be Swedish food. They were told that the food they were being served in Sweden was, indeed, Swedish food. When informed of what we in the US considered to be Swedish food, they responded… “Oh… that’s peasant food.”

If I had taken time to think about it, I should have guessed that. My ancestors were peasants. My great-grandparents were impoverished farmers. They left Sweden because they sought economic opportunities in America. Their struggles forced them to come up with creative solutions. If they were wealthy, they would not have had reason to come to the US.

Poverty was the motivation of my great-grandparents to change their circumstances. Struggles in life are not necessarily bad. We need them, sometimes, to motivate us to make good decisions. When things are going well, we are not willing to take risks. Yet, risks are needed at times.

Some struggles are good… they force us to open our minds to what God may have for us. It is hard to be open to change when the place we are presently at is comfortable. Comfort and Convenience can stifle Creativity.

People like to say the well-worn quote that “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” However, the so-called “necessity” is often simply seeking comfort and convenience. To me the challenge is how to be creative and inventive without truly achieving comfort and convenience.

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