When it’s time to get back to reality, the imagination has no place there. Or does it?
The traffic was unusually heavy that night when I was coming home from work. And, of course, the workday had been stressful and hectic. As traffic crawled to a halt, I rolled my eyes in frustration.
But what a surprise I found when I lifted my eyes!
Looking up, I saw the most beautiful formation of clouds spread across the vast expanse of the sky. And there I was, at a dead stop, able to enjoy it and appreciate it at that moment, without any interruptions or problems.
The shadows and depth and contours that awaited me in the gray and silver and white cloud formations were nothing less than breathtaking. I saw huge, billowing, cumulus clouds in the distance. Their balletic movements were magnificent, as they churned, floating gracefully in their slow-motion splendor. And, as my eye roamed across the canvas of the sky, a memory that I had not conjured up in years was triggered in my consciousness.
All of a sudden, I was back in time, not even a 10 year old yet, lying on the fresh green grass in our backyard with my little friends from the neighborhood, looking up at the clouds and screaming out the pictures that we saw. Sometimes it was a dragon, an angel, or a tree, a banana, a piano, or a lamb.
Laughing hysterically, we would scream out our visionary revelations the instant that they appeared to us. Of course, this led to everyone yelling at the same time, and squirming over closer to the one next to you — because you had to be exactly where they were to see exactly what they had seen. And you had to do it fast, because the clouds were constantly changing, and the images that were projected to us did not last very long.
But to this day, I kept them in my mind, and I know all my friends did, too. And as I marveled at the beautiful clouds now above me, I wondered what had happened in the years that had ensued. I never said, back then, that I was looking at “cumulus clouds,” or “formations.” My imagination was looking at treasure chests, castles, musical notes, mountains, and a million other little miracles, right before my very eyes.
And as the traffic started to move again, I took a deep breath. It was time to get back to reality. My imagination had no place here. Or did it?
Seeing the hand of God, I realized, wasn’t something restricted to the realities of the material world. Sometimes just by looking up, or looking into our hearts, or by remembering, we find His presence as vivid and as real as anything tangible in our lives.
And sometimes, He might even send us a reminder of that, as I know He did when I looked up and opened my heart to see what was in the clouds.
This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.