Musing About… An Active Imagination

Few people would deny that creativity is a good thing. This ability of transcendence has allowed us to travel to every known corner of our planet and to the far reaches of the universe through stories and visual arts. It has afforded us the opportunity to connect with our ancestors through poetry, plays, sculptures and paintings of the countless poets, playwright and artisans. It constantly stretches our yearning for knowledge and exploration of worlds and ideas yet unknown, but ever beckons for our discovery of them. Yes, it is without a doubt that creativity is a good thing…most of the time.

As one who considers himself to be naturally creative, I can attest that creativity has been a valuable asset in my profession. But for a child, well, let’s just say that a creative mind can also be a dangerous thing.

My father was also a pastor, so one would think that I knew how to behave in church. It would seem logical to think that, but to be honest, that was rarely the case. For me as a child, I found church to be about as exciting as learning long division. My dad was normally a great storyteller, but for some reason, it seemed as soon as he stepped behind a pulpit, all he could say was “Blah, blah, blah God, blah, blah, blah.” Yep, real exciting stuff. I could not take the boredom, so I would secretly begin to play, acting if I was one of my favorite television characters. It was one Sunday morning, when I was about five or so, my dad was preaching and I slipped into being the character Matt Dillon, from Gunsmoke. Yes, in my mind, I was Marshall Dillon, sitting in Miss Kitty’s saloon watching this ornery character, who was causing a bit of a ruckus. To me, it became all too real. This stranger in town began to stare me down and finally started pointing at me as if to call me out into the street. Squinting my steely eyes, I slowly nodded as I imagined walking out into the dusty street, hand readied at my right hip, ready for a showdown. Still keeping my eyes on this desperado, he spoke to me in a quite familiar voice; it was the voice of my father, who, noticing I was up to no good, had interrupted his sermon to issue his fatherly warning, “Tim, you better behave yourself!” That may have been what he said to me, but what Matt Dillon heard was, “Draw!” With that, I quickly drew my hand up in the form of an imaginary gun and yelled, “POW!” as I fired one shot from my six-shooter.

Much to my chagrin, the outlaw staggered a bit, but did not drop face-down into the street. No, instead, he came down and grabbed my arm, abruptly arousing me from my fantasy world into the harsh reality that I was being taken out of church for a different type of smack-down.

It’s scary when you realize that you have messed up and you are about to face the undesired results. A writer of a letter to the Hebrews expressed this same sentiment as he wrote, “It’s scary to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Hebrews 10.31 CEB).

The day I “fell into my dad’s hands” was scary. I got what I deserved. But immediately afterward, I fell into his arms and he hugged me as he said over and over how much he loved me…and I knew he meant it.