Friday, June 12, 2009

"Just" Imagine

One of my favorite films in recent years is “Finding Neverland,” which tells the story behind the story of Peter Pan. Early in the movie is a scene in which playwright J. M. Barrie is walking with his large dog in the park and has just met the four boys and their mother.

The first time I saw the movie, I cried at that scene.

Why would a scene about a dog imagined to be a dancing bear make me cry? Because like Peter, I had lost the wonder of being young. I was at a place in my life where I had taken on many adult responsibilities. I had allowed my grown-up challenges and relationships crowd out my sense of adventure. My ability to see the unseen was limited to the outcome of what I could only see before me, and many times I found myself visualizing disastrous results.

I had forgotten what it was like to think as a child thinks, to be brave enough to imagine that I could interact in a world where Pirates and Indians were more than baseball teams, and a young hero named Peter Pan could defend me from all threats, foreign and domestic.

And I wondered, who put a limit on our imaginations? At what age are we to someone dash our dreams, or use a “candle-snuffing word”? Who gives anyone the right to do that to us? And what gives us the right to do that to others?

God used His imagination in creation of the world. For example, look at Italy, shaped like a boot about to kick a football. Or at the way God created the giraffe. No other animal walking the earth today looks anything like it (at least not that I’m aware of). And when God created man in His image, He also gave man creative ability, what we call “imagination.”

We can see how the use of imagination honors God all around us, in the words of the Psalms, the response of music and artwork, even in the way we play. Gifts that are used responsibly bring honor to the giver. “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29) To snuff out someone’s imagination and dreams is to snuff out the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed you connection with dreams and Peter Pan, and remembering how we dream so well as kids, but along the way for some reason stop dreaming with creativity and openness. Thanks for these words.