Wednesday, February 27, 2008


When I was in San Diego for my cousin's wedding, my aunt and I sat down to breakfast together and talked about her start with Mary Kay. She talked about how she never thought she could work outside the home; wasn't sure if she should work outside the home. Until staying at home after her kids had been safely sent off to school for the day became too much for her - or, more accurately, not enough.
Anyways, 20-something years later, she gave a talk to a group of women who work for Mary Kay, and used an illustration that she found really relevant to her time starting out:

It's a little fuzzy here (one can only do so much with the Paint accessory), but the basic idea is this:
Any time you (or I) have a decision to make, your brain can draw information from one of two sources: Your memory or your imagination. When you're a child, the thinking goes, you don't have much in the way of memory - so you ask your imagination. Essentially, the sky's the limit. That is why kids will give such over-the-top, foolish, unrealistic answers to questions like "What do you want to be when you grow up?" or "Why is the sky blue?" They'll answer with astronaut, firefighter, President, artist; they'll tell you that the color of the sky has a million different derivations - in not so many words - and isn't it beautiful! G.K. Chesterton writes about this idea better than anyone else I know of. In
Orthodoxy, he remarks that :
it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life...they always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger then we.

(Forgive me the extended quotation).

As we get older, our memories grow in size and in weight - emphasizing our records of past failures, humiliations, and defeat. We stop drawing from our imaginations - out of necessity, out of practicality, for the sake of a 'realistic' view of the world. This is especially true when it comes to my decision-making. I struggle with anxiety; I convince myself that I oughtn't take this or that chance because inevitably, I will fail. I do all in my power to avoid that know in my stomach that has become so familiar when I am standing on the edge of something new. I let my fears dictate my thoughts, my behavior, my interactions.
And all the while, my imagination is shrinking. I grow less creative, more afraid; less thoughtful, more rote. God becomes a nice thought, but a very distant one. And I shadowbox, alone, wondering when I will get a rest.

For we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

SO, here's to imagination. To being uncertain and living well anyways - to knowing the light ahead is a saving light, even when it turns everything around us to shadows. It isn't easy, but his burden is light. We know where to turn . . . we have always known.

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