Here are some previous thoughts on the subject of Creativity. When you have finished on this page, click Back to look at other topics.

Last week, Bic, the ballpoint people, announced that they had sold their 100,000,000,000th disposable pen. The firmís founder, Baron Marcel Bich, originally planned to make fountain pen parts when he bought a factory outside Paris at the end of World War II. But a chance encounter with a wheelbarrow changed all that. "My father,Ē recalls his son Bruno Bich, who now runs the company, ďtold me that one day he was pushing a wheelbarrow when it dawned on him that the ball was a multi-faceted wheel and this was the best way to convey ink."

It only takes a moment to see something that sparks a thought and makes a connection. The capacity to make such imaginative leaps is partly a gift. But being observant about whatís going on around us and alert to its significance is a talent that can be developed. Moses need not have stopped to look at the Burning Bush. Elijah might have stuck with his depressed mood, stayed in the cave and never received Godís comfort and instruction. The disciples might have been so disappointed at their dismal nightís fishing that they ignored the strangerís instruction to try again and discovered it was the risen Jesus.

Perhaps today, especially if weíre feeling a bit low and focused mainly on our own feelings and thoughts, it might pay to keep our eyes and ears open. Sometimes, as we develop the capacity to be responsive to whatís going on around us, we make connections which sometimes bring us comfort, sometimes a new way of dealing with whateverís troubling us, and often a sense that thereís a creativity at work thatís both within and beyond us.

200 inventors from the UK, USA, China, Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia, Croatia, Iran, Algeria, Cameroon, Ukraine, India and the Philippines will be displaying their inventions at the British Inventions Show in London this weekend. Exhibits include a brail printer from Croatia, an airship from Iran, and cornflakes made from banana peel.

Among the contributors are whose speciality is creating ways of transforming junk into useful items and so contributing to the preservation of the environment. They offer suggestions about making storage trays from cereal boxes, peg holders out of milk containers or a garden cane stands from cardboard carpet rolls.

The human ability to be creative is worth celebrating especially when what is produced, however apparently insignificant, contributes to the welfare of everybody,

Godís creativity too can transform what appears to be rubbish into what is very worthwhile. Situations and people which seem beyond redemption change. At Easter particularly, Christians celebrate the inventive power of God. What emerged from that rubbish tip outside Jerusalem has become a source of creativity and hope for everybody. We could try today to be open to the source of that same creativity as we decide the best way of dealing with the problems facing us.

The Sunday papers will not be quite the same. The Innovations catalogue that usually accompanies them is to stop. Itís an entertaining read, even if not used enough for actual purchases to justify its continuing existence. This week for example you could discover that there is such a thing as a water-resistant CD/radio so that you can sing along in your shower. It reveals the extraordinary inventiveness of human beings, even if often what it offers are solutions to problems you didnít know you had.

Thank goodness we are also capable of inventive solutions to real and important human problems. Often tackling them head on isnít the best way. Itís a great gift that we can often deal with any difficult situations which confront us by coming at them side ways, by looking at them from different perspectives, by getting at the main problem via a lesser one.

This week particularly, Christians celebrate the inventive power of God. God did confront the ultimate human problem of death head on. Christ went into it, and, on the first Easter Day, defeated it. We could try today to be open to that same creativity as we decide the best way of dealing with the problems facing us

The death last week of one of the UKís best known former footballers was a very public display of what happens when someone deals with lifeís stress by drinking too much. George Best himself wished his dying to encourage others to deal with their pain differently. Another charismatic footballer, Paul Gascoigne, who faced similar struggles, once described in an interview how he dealt with the pain his previous life had brought him. ďI donít like to think a lot,Ē he said.

For many people thatís easier said than done. The same worry goes round and round. When we think weíre settled, a familiar anxiety pops up to upset our equilibrium. Our problems remain frustratingly near the surface of our consciousness, even when we feel sure nothing will be gained from going on thinking about them.

When we seek healing and freedom from our regrets, worries and hurts, we need to be patient enough to allow the psycheís in-built healing process to happen. But the frustration of their constant repetition in our minds can easily discourage us. Instead we turn to solutions which try to stop us being aware of them. George Bestís was to drink, Paul Gascoigneís to be constantly on the go.

The trouble is that, if we try to prevent the painful thoughts from coming to mind, we remove one of the factors that may lead to healing. Feeling the pain, sharing it with others whoíll listen sympathetically, consciously living with it in Godís presence, are all ways of enabling healing to happen. We need to be willing to wait and have the courage to allow our minds and hearts to do their renewing work, even when the process causes us pain.

Today, if unpleasant thoughts disturb us, letís not be too keen to run away from them. They may be the very stimuli which enable our subconscious to come up with a better coping mechanism or a creative solution.