posted by Marcia Lee Laycock
“Can you imagine what it would be like for a person to discover that his mother had tried to abort him?”
I did imagine. I wandered in a fog of imagining for some time, letting go of all the “urgent” things that needed doing because the story that began to take shape captured my imagination. And the novel, One Smooth Stone was the result.
Dictionary.com defines the word imagine this way: to form a mental image of something not actually present to the senses; to think, believe, or fancy; to assume, suppose; to conjecture, guess; to plan, scheme or plot.
Imagining requires that we find a place where our minds can wander in fertile ground. It requires that we embrace the time, patience and perseverance that will eventually result in story.
I’m in the process of taking a play writing course at the moment and our latest assignment seemed like a writers’ dream come true. The instructor told us to go for a walk, find a quiet place and let our minds wander along the paths that we want to explore for our next project. She encouraged us to silence the negative thoughts, the demons of discouragement, and welcome the angels of inspiration. We were to take a notebook along and write down whatever came to mind.
When I read the assignment my first thought was, how delightful that would be. My second thought was, I don’t have time to do it. How can I go for a walk and wander when .... and I immediately listed all the “must do’s” in my life right now. And besides, I already knew what I wanted to do for this project. I’ve had a clear idea from the beginning of the course. I just needed to get at it.
So I haven’t done what the instructor asked.
Today I walked into my rather messy office and sat down at my even messier desk and sighed. I have several projects to work on, deadlines to meet, word counts to reach. But my mind won’t settle. It hops from one idea branch to another like a squirrel gathering his food for winter.
I need to go for that walk. I need to take the time to feed my imagination, to open my heart and soul to the One who inspires.
Too often we neglect what is really essential in order to accomplish the urgent. We do this in our spiritual lives as well. Who has time to pray and read the Word of God? There are things to be done for the kingdom, people to be helped, programs to organize. The essential is shoved aside for the urgent.
Until that day comes when the dryness chokes the life from our souls and we sit in our mess and wonder what’s gone wrong.
The urgent will always be with us. The essential will always patiently wait for us to take the time to be still and pay attention.
You’ll have to excuse me now. I’m going for a walk.