While I was out running after a heavy rainfall, I happened to notice a stream flowing in the drainage ditch, and was transported to my childhood. I remembered hours of carefree fun spent racing leaves, building damns, and having all sorts of creative adventures in such waters with nature’s building blocks. Good times! Today, I’m fortunate enough to be in a doctoral program, where my project is on how we can heal our societal divides and, together, grow into greater flourishing. Guess what I’m finding is vital for this endeavor? Imagination! Whether it’s your life, family, country, and/or world, imagination shapes our reality. If we can’t imagine it, it won’t happen!
Think about it, didn’t it take dreamers to end slavery, launch democracy, start public education, build the first railroad spanning the U.S., go to the moon, and so on? The political, racial, religious, and other divides tearing us up will only be replaced by the unity, equality, and freedom we thirst for, if we imagine it first. And while I’m speaking broadly, don’t you think the same applies to our individual and communal lives as well? The possibilities we picture greatly influence our lived experiences.
Personally, I can’t tell you how many times I was stuck in “meh” relationships, beliefs, roles, worldviews, etc. because I didn’t have the imagination for something better! Time-and-again, though, Spirit (usually through others) opened my mind to a bigger, better, and more beautiful possibility, and it was like I went from living in a cocoon to being a butterfly!
For instance, in a previous “life” I was convinced violence and war were inevitable and necessary evils. I couldn’t imagine anything else. Then, while I was still in the air force, Jesus introduced me to an alternate reality, where “the wolf lies with the lamb”, people go the extra mile in loving their enemies to life, the healing waters of reconciliation and redemption flow without end, and love can truly end the cycle of violence.
While the old me thought that wasn’t realistic, it’s essentially been my lived reality for about a decade. As Madonna famously sings: “All you need is your own imagination”, because “your dreams will open the door”. With that in mind, as Jesus and others have done for me, I invite us to let go of limiting beliefs, free our minds, dream big, imagine boldly, and move confidently into bigger, better, and more beautiful possibilities!
Hugs & Love,
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