By Tiffany Stubbs
For a very long time, I’ve been able to find solace in being outside even when my insides were speaking the many languages of development.
From emerging early childhood to the awkwardness of puberty and the newfound identity of being a young adult, I found a space to just be and create in tandem. Although I didn’t have any notion of the idea of sisterist, creation theology and outside have felt like the sister that I have always wanted. It was not only a place of recreation — but a place to RE-CREATE.
Upon reflecting on some assigned reading, one of the statements that resonated with me showed the power of creating: “Creating is a powerful way that God’s spirit speaks to women in a context where there is little spiritual space” (Buckenham, 64).
As an African American millennial, I’ve definitely felt that in some inner spaces, whether school or church, that there was very little space to express myself in a way that was most comfortable to me. In fact, I’ve felt conditioned to be tamed, because “what some call wild, I saw as being free” (Baker-Fletcher).
This week outside, I was enlightened to look at the weeds in our yard, the one branch that sticks out from the manicured bush in our front yard, the residue of a small piece of ripped envelope that it’s on the curb and the mushroom that has multiplied in one day, all of which these “wild features” of creation reminded me that order doesn’t have a preset. Order can actually exist in the many ways that I reset with nature, God and myself.
This summer, I spent some time learning about the seven virtues of MA’AT (an ancient Egyptian concept): truth, righteousness, balance, justice, reciprocity, harmony and order. These virtues I believe, are implicitly and explicitly infused in creation and expressed from the Creator. That in fact has embraced me to “move out to consider macro-ecological problems and the interrelatedness of all our lives” (Baker-Fletcher, 5). Sometimes when you are engulfed in the normative of your neighborhood and environment, your eyes can be full of only what you see and not what can be. This empowers me to go back and reexamine what we “preach, teach, and practice about the earth as we consciously develop healthy spiritualities” (Baker-Fletcher, 6).
Again, as I looked out at the one branch sticking out so proudly, I smiled. To be honest in fact, I hope that my Dad doesn’t come home and cut it. It reminds me of my own current place in transition, feeling like I’m sticking out on some of the most manicured spaces in my life; but in some odd kind of way, I actually belong here. Yep, that one stick is a part of that bush. I began to wonder how long it had been sticking out, but more so how long without anyone’s noticing?
Just like Baker-Fletcher, I can remember the words of my grandmother and also the days when we used to prune trees. It was something magical about our yardwork that made me feel that everything was going to be all right and it also showed me that there was a safety and stability in even the most resistant branch. Some of my greatest aha moments have been right there, standing and wondering about who planted this tree and also looking at my grandmother’s strength and resilience, hoping that one day I could find myself in this enthralling creative process.
Tiffany Stubbs is a CBF Leadership Scholar and third-year student at McAfee where she serves on S.A.L.T and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is a pharmacist and loves serving at her church, Greater St. Stephen, as she assists the Young Adult Ministry, works in pastoral care, and serves as an ordained elder. Tiffany enjoys reading, going to the movies, and helping others. She would like to focus on missions, medicine and ministry by ministering to the “whole person.”