Escapes

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There are not enough adults in the world who are willing to admit that they miss childhood.

Alright, I know some people’s childhoods were awful—Awful with a capital “A.” There are, sadly, a great number of people whose childhoods were Dickensian in terms of horribleness, growing up as impoverished little Olivers or manipulated Estellas.

But every child grew up with a fantasy world. For some it was the digital world spoon-fed them by video games. For others, the worlds spread out for them on television shows or movies. And the truly lucky ones found their worlds hidden in the pages of books and built them on their own.

I was always horrible at crafting elaborate fantasy lands without the help of some outside source. My own inner sanctum was a combination of Narnia and Middle Earth that always turned out looking more like the Appalachian Mountains than anything else. I stopped talking about it with my friends because they often scoffed at its lack of originality. I go there still, every so often, but it’s faded and cracked around the edges, like an old black-and-white photo you might find in a trunk in the attic.

But it lives still. And I know I’m not the only one out there who still revisits the mental playgrounds of their childhoods.

I know there are others in the world who see a particularly beautiful painting hanging on a wall and long to step inside it and take a walk. I know there are others who open up old picture books and wish that more than anything they could just wrap themselves inside it, fall into it, and not come back again.

Adults never lose their ability to fantasize. Trouble is, when children grow up their thoughts turn to ambitious dreams of having money, power, romance, the esteem of others, security—or nobler dreams of saving lives or making a positive impact in the lives of others. There comes a point where, for whatever reason, Wendy can’t fly back to Neverland, and Peter and Susan are too old to return to Narnia.

But I know there are people in the world who hold these adult dreams in one hand while still holding their childhood dreams in another. Both are worth keeping and exploring. The worlds of our pasts effect our present worlds. The power of imagination produces some of the greatest art.

God made our minds to imagine things—otherwise worlds like Wonderland and Middle earth wouldn’t exist in anyone’s minds at all. God dreamed up the world and spoke it into existence. Since we’re made in His image, with His thumbprint on our souls, we imagine and create as well. He gave us our minds (and childhoods) for a reason. It’s best to use them, so that the little ones who follow us will have room to dream.

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5 responses »

  1. Ah, I’ve always loved the imaginary world you’ve shared with me–I don’t believe I’ve ever scoffed. Since you’re a talented writer, I hope you’ll be able to bring those worlds to life for your readers, young and old alike. 🙂

  2. I think you would like the scheduled library facebook post for the afternoon. It’s from C.S. Lewis.

    “Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow.
    But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

    -C.S. Lewis
    “On Three Ways of Writing for Children” (1952)

    Don’t put away your imagination! It makes the world a brighter place for so many!

  3. The Dadster Ripostes:

    The Lord Jesus tells us that, unless we accept the kingdom of God as little children, we will in no wise enter in: “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10:15).

    Our God expects us to be both fully mature (with regard to this world, this life, and the evils thereof) and fully child-like (with respect to His holy nature).

    We, as believers, are gross contradictions to this world’s way of thinking!

    But the wonder of life is ours to enjoy.

    Ponder life through His eyes, Who is Holy, and wholly good!

    He delights in every good thought, and in every innocent desire.

    And He will establish His will eternally.

    So, my Little One–just keep walking into those pictures. The Dadster still does–and I have long since passed the half-century mark. Life obtains. Enjoy it.

    Love,

    The Dadster

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