In her book The Preaching Life, Barbara Brown Taylor writes this in reference to using our imagination:
"Walking down a street, I see a wild-looking character sitting on the steps of a library. His grey hair is matted. His dense beard covers the slogan on his grimy his t-shirt. His small darting eyes are as volatile as a hawk's. I look once and think"drifter." I look twice and think "John the Baptist," and in that imaginative act my relationship with that man has changed."
How do we let our imaginations see the world around us? Do we allow it to keep us from doing the work of Jesus? Or use it to see the Divine in all that is around us?
Taylor describes the imaginative act like this, "In the imaginative act, two ideas are struck together and sparks leap through the air between them, revealing familiar notions in a new light." I like this simple explanation.
For me, when two ideas collide as Taylor describes it, it almost always leads me to wonder, "What if..." In this process I not only find ways to see God at work in my imagination, but to also receive any revelations that can be put to creative use. Too often we hide from people, from responsibility, from doing what we have been called to do. Too often we succumb to ignoring a situation instead of embracing it. It could be argued that "ignoring" leads to "ignorance."
Taylor concludes this thought of "looking twice at the world" by pointing us to see how some Native Americans view our world. She writes, "First, they say, we must 'bring our eyes together in front' so that we notice every drop of dew on the grass, the steam rising from damp anthills in the sunshine. Then we must look again, directing our gaze at 'the very edge of what is visible' so that we see visions, cloud people, animals that hurry past us in the dark. 'You must learn to look at the world twice if you wish to see all there is to see,' writes Jamake Hightower of the Blackfoot Indians."
We are told from an early age to look twice before crossing the street. In agreement with the authors, I suggest we look twice as we wLk down the street as well. I think we might see the world and people differently if we did.