Posted on 25 March 2010.
Lost in the world of imagination
A stray Dalmatian wandered through our yard recently. It would not come to us, but you can imagine our 3-year-old daughter’s elation, especially since she happened to be wearing her 101 Dalmatian pajama pants at that very moment! You’d think her favorite movie came to life before her eyes, as though wearing those pants made the dog appear.
One of my favorite aspects of parenting is witnessing my children become lost in their own little worlds of imagination. The possibilities seem as endless, vast and borderless as the universe. As a child, if you are lucky enough to be gifted the opportunity and time to get lost in your imagination, it becomes as strong and vivid as any treasured memories, and more powerful than that which is concrete. As Albert Einstein explained, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
At our house, imagination goes hand-in-hand with childhood. Our dress-up chest is overflowing with costumes and props, large cardboard boxes are frequently transformed into hand-decorated fire trucks or trains, and our entire living room will occasionally become a gigantic blanket fort that is typically either a mouse hole or a dog house, but has also been known to be a cave to bears, octopuses and lions.
As fascinating and powerful as my children’s imaginations are, still more enthralling is what is imagined by our Creator. This beautiful world and all that we able capable of imagining or creating within it was first envisaged by Him. Even our wildest imaginations cannot grasp the full essence of God, nor, for that matter, what He has planned for our lives. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
What we are capable of imagining, as beautiful and creative as it is, and as alive and wondrous as it is in children, is but a small reflection of the creative beauty He imagines. From the smallest speck of splashed color on an isolated wildflower, or cloud-captured rays of a sunset, to the genius workings of the circle of life—His Mind’s Eye is ever joyous, His abilities beyond measure. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
Whether a paper towel roll turned telescope is transporting them across the ocean to buried treasure or dogs are coming to life from the magic of their pajamas, I truly hope the essence and beauty of imagination lives forever in the hearts of my children. Perhaps tomorrow, if our daughter wears her Ariel shirt, a mermaid will splash out of the neighbor’s pond. We can only imagine!