from my recent read, a tree grows in brooklyn, by betty smith:
“Mother, I know there are no ghosts or fairies. I would be teaching the child foolish lies.”
Mary spoke sharply. “You do not know whether there are not ghosts on earth or angels in heaven.”
“I know there is no Santa Claus.”
“Yet you must teach the child that these things are so.”
“Why? When I, myself, do not believe?”
“Because,” explained Mary Rommely simply, “the child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were. It is necessary that she believe. She must start out by believing in things not of this world. Then when the world becomes too ugly for living in, the child can reach back and live in her imagination. I, myself, even in this day and at my age, have great need of recalling the miraculous lives of the Saints and the great miracles that have come to pass on earth. Only by having these things in my mind can I live beyond what I have to live for.”
[you miss a bit of the depth by lacking the backdrop of story in which this lies, but it’s good nonetheless]
we had dinner tonight with 2 people who i think possess some of the most imagination i’ve encountered. i’m lucky enough to be related to them and have been known to try to steal some creativity-by-association (can you say “international copyright law”?), but tonight, especially after my bathtime reading fun, the value of imagination and creativity really lept out at me.
LBW has an amazing gift of seeing something beautiful and arranging things so that beauty is enhanced. you can see it from her dwellings… she loves beautiful things, but the way she is able to gather and display them, either in simplicity or in complex arrangments, brings the beauty into 3D. sure, that’s a nice picture. but put it with this fabric or stack it on that table and suddenly it just pops. i think that’s why i don’t own a lot of pretty things…i just don’t know how to help them live to their full, beautiful, potential. not only can she see beauty, she knows what to do with it.
BRW also has a knack of seeing something where there’s nothing, but rather than beauty it’s the $$ that motivates. however, you can’t argue that there must be an ounce of imagination and creativity (not to mention a whole lot of cahones) to make some of the crazy ideas come together in a way that works – and not just for him, but for many of the people he has surrounded himself with in ventures to try and make a buck. i admire that there are people out there with a passion for things and he takes that and says (in typical wingfield fashion) “what if we…” and “a guy could…” and then suddently some sort of hairbrained scheme is born. and works.
i love the artistic skill of KLM. i had a friend in seminary who was similarly artistic and could draw and write and produce music in a way that creates something from little. but tonight i could see the true value in an imagination that is outside of art. LBW and BRW have a creativity that does, as “mary” says above, inspires hope. and that’s what it’s about, right? not who can draw the prettiest picture, but what that pretty picture inspires us to believe, and then do. and there are so many ways to inspire hope… it just takes a little imagination to see it.