“Can you imagine…?”
I am baffled by the present, never imagining our world looking – or acting – like it does and is today. In fact, now days, imagining seems more risky than enlightening.
I wish for all the world that my imagination would run wild about the possibilities for my little Birdhouse paper-crafting and journal business. And by “business” I mean What can I do with the journals and scrappy cards and little doo-dads I’ve made so I can afford more paper, ink, stamps, stencils, and washi tape – so I can make more?
I wish I were making plans of fun things to do with Asher and Audrey as they grow older. And by “fun things” I mean What can we do besides watch movies and make slime?
I wish I could energize myself to continue with the writing projects about prayer and a boy named Pippin I have tumbling about in my head. And by “energize” I mean Why do I keep checking social media for news about a pandemic and politics and the inequities and violences of the world?
I haven’t written very much in the past few weeks. I sit and ponder, hoping to enrich your lives with lovely words of encouragement. And I begin, waxing poetic about
- the seemingly insignificant and small but wondrous …
- the tiniest of life’s joy …
- the hope of our futures …
- the love of Jesus …
- the value of friendships …
- the heartbreak of loss…
And whatever meager words or thoughts I muster simply crumble into dust. The screen blurs as my eyes fill with tears. I got nuthin’.
Because all I can think about with any depth or continuity is …
- the big and mighty, powerful and wealthy people in the world betraying our trust …
- the crushing concern about our universal health and happiness …
- the fading hope of our future as the truly and equitably brave and free …
- the proclaimed love of Jesus being twisted and shaped to defend greed and self-service …
- the friendships broken with little promise of mending …
- the loss of life marginalized for the good of financial security.
I am more grateful than I can express for my life right now: Tim and I have jobs that are pretty stable. We have enough squirreled away to keep us well fed and clothed, to pay our expenses, and to let us be generous for more than a while longer. The kids are close. Although we are both of the age or condition that COVID-19 would be risky, our circle has not been directly affected. At least not yet. Not that I know of.
But things aren’t right. Not at all. And I don’t mean the economy or the mask debate. I mean things aren’t right between and among us.
You see, I’ve always been one of those “good” sheep. The ones who take the truths told by trusted leaders of the Faith and tuck them away with confidence and, pitifully, very few questions.
But I’m getting a little more curious lately. And now, when questions start bubbling up about these ideas I have held dear forever, and I look beyond the straight, white, middle-class teachings of my youth, I get some rather prickly push back from a community I have known and loved – and trusted – forever.
A community that has said, Go ahead and ask those hard questions, doubt, be mad, don’t hold back… God is big enough to handle our fears and questions and pain. But it seems that, even if God doesn’t have trouble with controversy or doubt, many people within my faith community do. My curiosity is considered unbiblical and my belief system compromised by evil forces. And I am rather foolish for rethinking what has always been chiseled in stone.
So I’m having a hard time making sense of things. I am having trouble imagining anything bright or shiny. Yes, in my finest moments, I remember the good times, celebrate what little there is now to celebrate, and imagine what could – and probably will – happen when this storm passes.
But so much of the time, I’m struck by the way we find reasons not to imagine the best, not to see noble intentions, not to search out what is good and right, however small or fragile. And my finest moments are not only growing infrequent and pale, but distant – moments from which the best, the noble, the good and right are leaking out, drop by drop.
I know that hope is not lost, my lovelies. I know that there is good work yet to be done – and there are plenty of you that can see beyond this bleak landscape, designing and imagining spectacular ideas you’ve had to hold in check while the world re-prepares for you.
And I’ve not yet given up, either. It’s true: I’ve spent too much time holding back tears and holding my tongue and struggling to hold on to friendships that may have been fractured beyond repair. But there are strands of bright anticipation that what does emerge from this dark and uncertain time will be even better than what we plan to rebuild…what we hope and imagine life will be like post darkness and uncertainty.
Lewis Carroll may not have been entirely right when he said, “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” But given our current circumstances, it couldn’t hurt to employ a weapon that has a good possibility of working.
Let’s all just imagine in chorus and unity that whatever happens next will be simply another adventure to face together. That whatever happens next will be different and better – or just different. And that whatever ever happens next will inevitably be unexpected, wonky, and imperfect. And without a doubt, beyond our wildest imaginations.
This is a bloghop with the question: Can You Imagine?
Where does that take you? Tell us here:
Photo by BHAVYA LAKHLANI on Unsplash
Yes. This is where I am, too. So much.
Virtual hugs to you. Maybe someday we’ll meet irl, on the other side of this divide, over tea and with notebooks in hand.
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Mardra – Thanks and I’m hoping sooner rather than later – I live in Chicagoland. And I could use a new place to visit…hint, hint…xoxox
I’m so impressed by the way you’ve articulated the present. You’re in my head. Love ya Nanc
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Thanks and love you too, Reen.
I love this. Amazing words. And Asher and Audrey are the coolest names. COVID didn’t hit hard in western MA, where I live, and mostly not in my circles but I have known people to get it and get it badly. I do like to think that we know more now than we did when it was rampaging my states so I believe we can still stay safe here. It’s so scary and hard.
Illinois has been opening more slowly than many surrounding states and we have seen the “flattening” effect. But travel between and among states is unrestricted (of course) so we are still at risk. I just wish we could all decide to be kind and work together, putting our personal finances and comfort a few steps back and think of those so much less fortunate and so much more vulnerable. Oh, well.
Thanks about the names – my daughter is an artist in many ways…
Take good care…xoxox
I feel all of this a LOT. I’m so hoping for a better, kinder, non-pandemic world. I feel you a lot with people using Jesus’ words to further their own agenda when they don’t live with love… But I do believe it will get better. I hope it does very soon. Hugs to you. I really appreciated reading this today.
Also, I saw your comment to Mardra – I’m in Colorado – feel free to visit! 😀
Yes, I think we can make it better – even if just in our own small worlds. And Colorado, huh? Sounds interesting! Thanks. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!… xoxox