My girlfriends baffle me. They cry. Often. Whenever the urge strikes, it seems. I guess I’m just not made that way. Oh, I had the usual adolescent hormonal insanity and I certainly shed more than my share of tears in that season of life. But somewhere in the purgatory between the hell we call puberty and the heaven that is married life, my eye wells just dried up. I didn’t think much of it until my husband’s close friend (a woman) eagerly asked him after he formally proposed, “Did she cry?” When he told me of her query I was flummoxed. Was I supposed to cry? It honestly never once occurred to me that perhaps I should have. I worried that I had let my man down by not properly responding to his declaration of devotion. I wondered what was wrong with me.
This was my first inkling that I might not be quite normal. I did not cry at my wedding. I did not weep at the birth of any of my four children. I do not usually cry when I am depressed, or when PMS has me in her witchy grip. Very few things actually cause me to weep, and it does not make me feel one iota better to have done so.
Having established my Vulcan-like emotional resolve, I have a confession to make. There are things that never fail to bring on the waterworks; things that will swell my throat and steal my ability to speak, so overcome am I with emotion. Sometimes the tears will bathe my face in hot streams that seem to come from some bottomless reservoir. In these cases I fully embrace this overflow of sentiment. What are these things that move me to tears?
A uniquely choreographed dance.
Melody vibrating throughout my entire being.
A finely crafted story.
I have decided that anything which fires my imagination and gives me a glimmer of my Creator is worthy of my lack of control. He is the one, after all, who designed us with the ability to imagine and create. To gaze at the Pieta is to see one man’s passion for his Savior in almost supernatural detail. To see the artistry of a well-executed dance shows me God’s handiwork in both body and form. To feel transported by the strains of music is nothing short of divine. But most of all, to have my eyes opened to spiritual truth through story.
I can think of nothing more artistic, more profound, or more sacred. I experienced Jesus as a real and living man through the pages of Eli by Bill Myers. Like Lucy in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, I long to run to Aslan and bury my face in his soft mane. I want to keep my child-eyes open to His return and yearn to hear his earth-shaking roar. Ted Dekker’s Circle Series taught me to dive deep and to long for the day when I can play with Elyon and sing His praises with perfect pitch. I understand the disease of sin and am reminded to bathe daily in the water of the Word. I now have my Eyes Wide Open to the illusions that I so easily fall for, thanks to Mr. Dekker as well, and I will never be the same.
Now, don’t misunderstand: there is no substitute for the Word of God. His love letter to humanity is the soul food that my spirit needs and craves. But it is our gift of imagination that brings the hope of our future to life in my mind. The power of story can spark a delirious anticipation of what is to come. Story has caused me to feel giddy at the thought of meeting my Savior face to face. To imagine is to wield a power that can break down walls, make the blind see clearly, and can shake the very foundation of one’s reality. Is it possible that Jesus was deliberately engaging our imagination with the use of parables for this very reason?
To exercise our imagination is to exercise our God-given ability to understand our Creator.
*When was the last time you read a book? (Not a book that tells you how to parent, homeschool or organize your life, but a book that is pure imagination.)
*If you have a favorite that has revolutionized your Christian walk, please share with your fellow bibliophiles in the comments.
*Now leave your comment, get off the net, and go read a story!!