Where did your imagination take you as a child? What did you see, dream, aspire to, pretend? I can’t imagine I ever dreamed of being a famous rock star, but I know I spent hours singing along to records holding an imaginary microphone in front of my face, so maybe. Others donned a cape and prepared to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Some had a friend who was a constant and faithful companion, invisible to the rest of the world but vivid and alive in oh, so many essential ways. Some played doctor, teacher, engineer, pilot, cook, mother, or miner. The really wide eyed may dream of ridding the world of AIDS or Ebola, ending human hunger or California’s drought, or ushering in the reign of peace. But eventually most of us grow up, reality moves in, life beats us down and we adjust our sights a little lower. Sometimes so much lower they lay flat on the ground without the faintest echo of a pulse. Our hearts are broken and our dreams smashed. We accept that we have lead feet and minimal talent, and settle down to eke out a living and slog our way through one day after another.
What if it doesn’t have to be this way? Thank God it isn’t for everybody! I celebrate the dreamers and explorers who first harnessed the power of lightning and brought us electricity, who studied birds and wind currents to figure out that we really can fly, who brought an end to polio and created penicillin and even now are developing life-saving possibilities in the battle against cancer. What about the people who noticed a sparkle and began panning for gold, and dug in order to follow a vein of silver? I love Madeleine L’Engle’s story of the countless times she submitted her book A Wrinkle in Time before it was finally accepted for publication, only to eventually be a Newbery Award winning classic. And then there are the parents who teach their child how to run and laugh, learn and give as the rest of the world tells them they are disabled.
Granted, not all of us have it within our reach to save the world, be a record setting Olympic athlete, become the poet laureate of the United States or design the latest and greatest in technology, but most us are gifted and skilled to accomplish more than we imagine. What might happen if we listen in when Angel Gabriel tells Mother Mary that with God, nothing is impossible; and then mine this truth in our own lives? Later this month, the Church will celebrate Pentecost and God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, a gift that promises to help the young see visions and the old dream dreams. What dreams does God have for us and our lives? And just what might happen if we dare, once again, to imagine the possibilities?