It is a powerful thing to return to the gifts of one’s childhood.  We are often blind to the gifts of these early years when certain pain can overshadow the treasure.  But when we look and pay attention, we may find some powerful gifts that can continue to bring life and sustenance to our lives.  St. Ignatius talks about a consolation that brings more consolation.  Meditation on a memory of childhood that was life-giving can be like that.  It can continue giving the gift when we allow it.

Harrison Hot Springs was the place of my childhood, the first 10 years of my life.  It is a unique landscape where the sun sets around 2:30pm in the winter months as the mountains are so close to the town.  It is a landscape where the mountains form a sense of a circle around a lake-town and one is surrounded by these majestic beings.  When the cloud cover comes in, wisps of white fairy dust seem to travel just beyond a hand’s grasp and the possibilities of fairies and mermaids seem likely.  At least they did in my childhood.

I was a child with a great imagination.  And, I learned that this imagination wasn’t very acceptable to those around me!  It wasn’t very practical or realistic.  I can say that with a chuckle now.  Of course, this imagination can be a little wild and whimsical.  However, as I age and sit with many of life’s challenges, I recognize the gift of what our imagination can be for us as adults.  It is an incredible gift if we can pull it up out of the covered-with-dust-tickle-truck within and learn to hold it with wonder.

Alexander John Scott was a minister who got booted out of the church of Scotland in 1831 for his heretical beliefs regarding the sacredness found in all of creation.  I find this man quite inspiring, the focus of J. Philip Newell’s doctoral thesis.  In his book, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul, J. Philip Newell says that imagination was one of the values of Celtic spirituality and a value of Scott’s faith.  Scott eventually was a great inspiration to the likes of George MacDonald, who then inspired C.S.Lewis and Tolkien with their imagination and powerful writings.  Lewis and Tolkien were friends and their ability to work with their imagination has impacted many of us profoundly with image, story, and possibility. Newell writes, “To be made of God is to be made of sacred imagination.  It is to have the capacity to dream our way into new beginnings, in our lives and in our world.  Alexander John Scott helps awaken us to these possibilities.” p123

I’m learning that in difficult times, I can open my imagination in prayer.  This is how much of my song-writing and poetry are awakened.  I invite my imagination to open to the heart of the Universe.  What song might I hear?  What image might inspire my heart?  What lyric might lead us onwards?

When I turn on the news, I am aware of so much anxiety, stress, and negativity.  It can feel so overwhelming.  If this is all I look at and fill my mind with, then I am lost.  But when I open my imagination to the possibilities of Love, I can hear a deeper song than the one of despair.  It is this song that fills my life and urges me to carry on and not give up.

I invite you to open your heart to this deep song with me.  What might fill your heart and mind if you open the door to Love?  Let us be creators that move from our sacred imagination, a people who have the capacity to dream our way into new beginnings.

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