memory vs. imagination

while on my way home from algona after meeting with lee laaveg for breakfast and long-overdue conversation, i drove past this old general- store-looking-thing in a little town called sexton. am guessing that not all that long ago this was a central location for all kinds of business transactions, casual meetings and conversations, and various other services. but today it looks like these photos. things change. some more quickly than others. tread is worn from the tires. containers are empty and thrown aside. toys discarded. the roof’s weight is pushing the sidewalls out of it’s way as gravity pulls it downward. the evidence of a once-thriving era is almost gone.

that was one of the things lee and i talked about. a decade where we worked closely together. a great season of growth and thriving. of imagining fresh, different ways of doing worship in the context of a more traditional church setting. using more of the language of the day, of the current culture, to express the timeless message of the gospel of jesus. but we have both moved on to other places. and we continue to think about ways to live out that same mode of operation. not hanging on to memories and trying to keep the same things going, but to imagine fresh and even unconventional ways of doing things.

like this building; the building itself was never the most vital part of it all. the lives and relationships and provisions and needs met were the real stuff of life there. it just happened inside the door that is ajar and under the now-falling roof. when it falls completely to the ground, the real life of it all does not have to be dead and gone with it.

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harriet doerr wrote that “one of the best things about aging is being able to watch imagination overtake memory.” i had to think about that statement for a while. imagination overtaking memory. i agree with harriet’s thoughts. and on the flip side i would suggest, that one of the worst things about aging can be “to watch memory overtake imagination.”

i don’t want the memories of how my life has been up to this point to have a crippling power over my imagination.  especially in regard to how i live in the present and look toward the future. i don’t want to be a slave to how things have always been. rather, to be open to the possibilities of how things can be from here on. i want to be able to imagine new and better things for tomorrow. to be open to all the possibilities…

  “see, i am doing a new thing! now it springs up, do you not perceive it? i am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  – isaiah 43:19.

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~ by fourfeetsixinches on February 7, 2012.

7 Responses to “memory vs. imagination”

  1. OK…..I also, do not know what the balance between memory and imagination should be? Many times I like to use my imagination (dream) and it appears that “folks” seem to discourage me from acting on these imaginative dreams. DO I have my “head in the clouds?”

    As I get older, I seem to head in a different direction than a “mature and resonable” person would head. I just need to trust that this nudge is coming from a positive force.

    Ok therapist…..figure that one out!

  2. We love how you think, Scott! Thanks.

  3. Ditto…very good! 🙂

  4. I think I may know that spot,on Highway 18? If it is the spot I’m thinking of I’ve driven by it many times over the years and felt that pensive sadness that can trip a person up.I so appreciate this blog post today,together the images and words give a sense of suspension between an old song and a new one. Inspirational and disquieting.

  5. Thanks for your responses. Am glad these thoughts struck a chord somewhere. Is not like I’ve got any definitive answers to the balance between memory and imagination, but i certainly think that it’s worth wrestling with. Balance is more of an ongoing and fine-tuned series of movements than it is a static state. Is vital to keep moving…

  6. This is such a re-read. Wow!
    Thanks again for sharing.
    I keep thinking ….”Once upon a time” and anticipating the story that is sure to follow.”Builds strong Bodies”,makes me think of community,breaking and Bonhoeffer.:) When a door is left ajar there is bound to be an action adventure.

  7. Somehow I have to believe that for those of us that would sway to the side of memories instead of imagination God has given us an overdose of C.R.S.(can’t remember stuff). His humor sometimes escapes me. Thanks for the reminder to press hard to find balance. dcs

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