So what of imagination when it’s splayed open, the little ones exposed and raising their voices like commercials in explanation: Look here, Mama, at the great invisibles; see the wolf in the curtain, the train come to take us, the deep water below the bed?
So what of it – when I give the yeah -yeahs and the uh-huhs? What of it dies down a little?
As a mother, now it is my honor to put out fires or to let them burn, and how can I know how to enter in without my own attentive imagination in tact and the power of empathy in force?
Imaginative empathy is as important to a healthy life as community and art, and in fact, I’m not sure that we should or could do either without the imagination and the ability to picture oneself into another’s perspective.
So as their mother, shouldn’t I practice entering in, not only to their pirate ships and alligator pits, but also to what I know of invisible worlds – of others’ inner lives, of visions for the future, of God on a rolling throne, of my own hair and tears receiving the washed sand from Jesus’ feet?
The imagination is not always vain, not always perverted. It is a gift for healing others and for receiving blessing.
Imagine a yoke (and it does exist). It does not weigh much. It is over you and one strong Lion, and the Lion speaks, and He is gentle and humble, with claws pushing the hills into valleys.
We stand in the kitchen, and the dishes are real, and the scrubbing is real, but not like soul, not like the flood we know our children face.
We pray, and squirt the soap and make the water hotter, and we bend our spirit backs down low, pick them up and hold them heavy and limp. And there in front of us is a sink. And there in front of us is an offering table, where we beg of God.
I am a mother, a shepherdess of bleating souls. They squeal and play, and I can crouch down with them and show them how to give it to God. I can crouch down and learn how to hundred-fold envision, how to act out needy and how to act out pure.
How do you nurture the invisible real–the imaginations and souls of your children?