As I was coming inside from my evening ritual of being black mailed by one of our cats – she promises not to howl all night if I give her a little something before bedtime – I came across the strangest looking bug I have yet seen this season. It looked like a cross between a spider and a bee. It flew and buzzed like a bee, but it had the oddest markings, which stopped me in my tracks. Of course, once it caught on to my interest in it’s colorful anatomy, it took exception and buzzed a little closer sending me back several steps. Then it flew off, unrecorded by me, or any budding scientist near or far. Ah, another loss to science.
But as I made it back safely inside, I could practically feel the wheels in my brain begin to turn as my imagination turned on. That little bug could make the beginning of a very interesting story. And it was not until I realized that I had been standing in the middle of the room, staring into space for several moments, that I came back to reality. It was a nice break – while it lasted. Why on earth would a home schooling mother of eight, who recently read the headlines, want a break from reality?
When I took my little ones for their evening walk and they chatted on about the various worlds they live in, I was reminded how much time children spend imagining things. And once again, I realized how wonderful that is. G. K. Chesterton once said something to the effect that fairy tales are real. They tell a truth that reality can’t always illuminate. In today’s world we are being faced with some awful truths. And frankly it can be a serious challenge to figure out our place in it all. But stories and make believe sometimes allow us the distance to think clearly. Like how Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings battle between good and evil inspire the little guy, the average person, to believe in himself and trust that good exists and is worth fighting for.
So when my 7 year old son is out winning great victories against invisible foes and my daughters are imagining lands with creatures I’ve never heard of, I smile that their wonderful imaginations. Imagining things may not be all bad. After all – God imagined us.