When M and I got married we committed not just to each other but to the act of creation. It was in our vows, in fact. We literally pledged to make. Art, meals, a home, a baby. Of course this path isn’t easy and I’m struck that the truly great things, like your favorite movie or the best meal you ever had, for example, only get created because someone dared to imagine something that wasn’t there before.
A few weeks ago M had been in my office to drop something off. I came back after she left only to find this written on my whiteboard:
Man, I married a smart lady! And I think she’s right.
Nothing great ever gets made without radical imagination.
I have scores of friends who are starting things these days - families, films, churches, new movements. I also have scores of friends and family who are stuck and unable to imagine that life could be anything more than it already is.
When I look at my daughter I can’t help but imagine what she’ll grow up to be, do, or make. My heart is overwhelmed at all the possibility. But after years of living in our world, perhaps the glimmer won’t be as bright. This is usually the way things tend to go isn’t it? We start off with so much promise and hope, then reality sets in only to put us squarely back in our place.
I have no faith in that ‘place.’
While I don’t believe there’s some candyland fantasy awaiting us if only we can dream it into existence, I do want Ruby to know that her reality is more about the radical future she can imagine rather than the future that is handed to her.
I want her to know that the future belongs to those who acknowledge their fear of the unknown and yet continue to move forward, all the while bringing light into the darkness. I want Ruby to dream of an alternative future that is better and more hopeful than anything I can even imagine. And I want Ruby to be the mayor of that future.
Could it be that you need to look at yourself the same way I look at my new daughter? Could it be that you need to let yourself come undone? Not over what the past has looked like but by imagining what your future could be.
What can only you make/do/become that will change all of us for the better?
As my wife says, “we need radical imagination now more than ever - to conceive of some better, alternative, hopeful future.”