As I reflect on my dearest memories in Sevilla, Spain so far – the ones that make my heart smile – I have come to realize the mark of a truly great city: human creativity. This one, more than any other I have visited, brims with creativity that ignites passion and hope in its visitors. You simply cannot leave the house without being confronted by expressions of human creativity, which, in turn, point you to the ultimate Creator. Take my route to school, for example. I step outside my building and pass Flamenco houses, turn a few corners, and there is the Cathedral. The street I walk (like most here) is lined with orange trees that lead my gaze to the cathedral’s tower. Shortly thereafter, I pass by Sevillana designer dress shops, hand-painted fan stores, incredible eateries and a building designed by the same architect as La Plaza de España. On the weekends I encounter Flamenco performers, street buskers drumming or playing the accordion, and I pass the places where famous Spanish writers were born or began their masterpieces, all boasting of creativity.
The truth is that my own expression of creativity is usually limited to creative problem solving. I used to dance and act but have not had those opportunities more recently. Living in Sevilla has inspired me to find little ways that I can embrace the uniquely human gift of creativity in whatever ways I can—taking the Sevillanas dance class, going to art museums and really learning to appreciate that form of creativity in new ways, reading books in Spanish, eating regional dishes, learning to cook paella—and those are just a few. The creativity poured out in Sevilla has formed this deep sense of hope and awe in me since arriving here. The only way I can think to explain it is that seeing the result of people’s creative loves everyday points me to the true grandeur of He who created us. This city directs our gaze to God, and for that I am deeply grateful.