The last couple years I’ve grown up quickly in a lot of ways. I’m glad for these changes, maturity is a good thing but I’m sad about one change—my weakening imagination. I’ve become more and more like Wendy growing up and not coming to Never, Never Land anymore; like Susan, banished from Narnia because she no longer cared about the richness and fullness of the truly beautiful life; and I was becoming like the little sister in The Polar Express as the tinkling of the Christmas bells grew so faint.
Sometimes, in a surprising moment, I will get a flash of a distant, far-away world—the world I grew up in. It’s a particular shade of blue, silver sparkles, a breeze rustling leaves, the smell of a cookie tin or the mention of a majestic unicorn but that’s all I get—just a taste. Frenzied, I search and grasp, with an unsettling feeling of being lost, for more than this but it’s just beyond my reach. I have grown up too much in one way.
Do things like this even matter? Is it important to remember? The cynical older person in me asks. The still-present but quieted child in me remains sure of the importance of imagination. Imagination is not just a world to escape to, it’s a different, and I think better way to see the real world around us. Through dreamer’s eyes flowers are the building materials to a fairy castle; the clear sky isn’t simply a pretty sky-blue color, it’s a handful of crushed sapphires God spread through the air; the stars don’t just shine at night, they’re dancing with each other and twinkling in mirth; and there are such beasts as unicorns.
It’s not really the believing in these things that’s important but it’s having the ideas and wanting a world full of goodness, joy and beauty; it’s wanting a right world, where things are all as they were created to be. My imagination worlds remind me of my home away from here. It’s a home of supreme beauty, song and dance, a place called Heaven. I can hardly imagine what Heaven will be like; it’s far too wondrous for that. Using the reaches of my limited imagination to live in other worlds, I think, in some way gives me a taste of what’s to come.
Like everything worth having, imagination takes practice and hard work to keep up. The more a dancer dances the more beautiful the dance will become and the dance will become part of the dancer . . . bringing beauty to the performer and the performance. Lately I’ve read more fairy-tales and children’s stories than I have for a very long time and it is awakening my old imagination. I remember now I love snow-white unicorns, I am starting to hear the Christmas bells again and I take a second glance at an old lamppost because I was sure I’d seen a faun dart away.
Maybe, just maybe I will some night soon be able to fly through my dreams again. It’s been such a long time.