“The naked intellect is an extraordinarily inaccurate instrument.”

Madeliene L’Engle, “A Wind In the Door”

Young wife, you are returned at last from roaming the earth with your husband. Your body is weaker than it was, thanks to the grueling days of travel and fever and not-eating with which you said goodbye to the quiet wilderness of Iceland. But your heart is strengthened by the Love who carried your backpack and stroked your hair and in the end brought you safely home. (And who the next day worked a full day and bought you juice and grapes and cooked you tacos while you slept on the couch.)

And your imagination, so long snuggled deep in the contented nest of this love, begins to ruffle its feathers and stretch its wings and peer about at the great world which you have glimpsed. Do you wonder, as it opens its bright eyes, where its purpose lies? Why anyone would encourage it to fly, and then scribble down its wandering paths? Why retell these stories, why tempt the imaginations of children to peep out of their nests and stretch their wings to fly, too?

The call of the “real” world is strong, and rightly so. You live in a material world that is real, and you know, young wife, that practicality is a precious art to be loved and embraced. But this very real world that we see and breathe is metaphor and a veil for another world, equally real but unseen and unseeable…except through faith.

Young wife, you have seen incredible things in this beautiful, material world. You have seen a dying sun and a coral moon balanced low in a blue sky like a pair of cosmic scales. You have seen glaciers flowing painfully into valleys, like some arthritic monster advancing his territory with agonizingly slow steps. You have seen desolation trying its best to keep its grip on lava fields long ago cooled, and being overcome by living moss like grace.

Young wife, you have also seen incredible things in the beautiful and immaterial world in which you also live. You have seen that the monsters who hide in the valleys of your soul are real, and that the grace of God overwhelms all that is desolate. You have seen the reality that is beyond the reality. Only in glimpses, perhaps. . . but, young wife, the secret to those glimpses lie in the bright eyes of your imagination. Not because all that you imagine is real, but because all that is real cannot be known or seen–and imagination teaches you to look beyond that which is seen. Imagination teaches you how to pull up the corner of the curtain and peep behind it.

Do you remember that this is why you love to write? Do you remember that you love the words with which you can, for a moment, cross between the worlds of seen and unseen? Do you remember what it is like to look on a tossing sea or a child reaching for her father and see the swirling metaphor and poetry and color that lies beneath that moment? Your imagination stirs and wakens. . . let it scramble to the edge of the nest and become the flurry of words and wings, singing of true things, real things, the things that lie behind the curtain of mere water and rock. Trace the flightpaths and re-sketch them in paper and ink so that others may follow. This is why you imagine; this is why you write. Remember these things, and stretch your paper wings once more.

Posted in Figmental adventures, Really truly adventures, Thoughts | Leave a Note