Human imagination is fascinating. I am continually impressed with the ideas that others have and their ability to innovate. I know that imagination is critical to many of the things that I do. I use imagination and creativity to interpret the connection between ancient texts and modern life. I use imagination to solve problems when working with other people. I use imagination to create artful layout for newsletters and web sites and other communications pieces.

My imagination isn’t limited to the practical, however. Sometimes I find myself thinking about things that seem to have no practical application. Last night I was lying in bed, awakened by a passing thunderstorm and I found myself thinking about what it would be like to have an ocean-going yacht. Now I’m never going to own a yacht, unless you could canoes and kayaks. I’m never even going to own a coastal cruiser. I’ve lived my life in the center of the continent. I have no experience with true seamanship. I don’t have the financial means to purchase, let alone operate, an ocean-going vessel. And as the years go by it seems less and less likely that I will make having a larger boat a priority of my time or my financial resources. So why does my mind wander to something that I know I’ll never do?

I’ve imagined things that I’ll never do. I’ll never sail my own ship around the world. I’ll never climb Mount Everest. I’ll never own a private jet. Knowing that there are things that I’ll never do isn’t a disappointment to me. I’m not sad that I won’t do those things. I have a happy life and I’ve done and am doing the things that are most important to me. When I was a young man I thought it would be a fun thing to be a grandpa and I thought I’d probably be pretty good at it when the time came. Now I am a grandpa and it is much more wonderful than I was able to imagine. I wanted to be married from an early age and after 46 years of marriage I am delighted that I found such a wonderful partner and have such a good marriage.

Many of the things that I once imagined have come to pass. And yet my mind continues to imagine things that will never happen. I also have some practical dreams and my imagination can stretch to things that can be accomplished. I’ve put a lot of energy into imagining this summer’s vacation and it will come to pass. I’ve invested years imagining some of the building improvements at our church and they will be accomplished. I’ve invested energy in imagining the structure of worship for a care center service on Friday and for our congregation on Sunday. I’ve created drafts of the worship bulletins for both services. They will come to pass and are worthy of my imagination.

Sometimes, however, when I am relaxed and not under pressure my mind will wander to things that are far beyond the realm of possibility.

I suppose that the capacity to imagine the impossible is essential to human progress. I’ve certainly done things that I never imagined would come to pass. When I accepted the call to serve this congregation, I was unable to think beyond about a decade of serving. Now, I’ve been her 24 years. I’ve gone beyond my expectations. I doubt if humans, when imagining the possibility of flight before the first airplane was made could imagine that we’d go from the Wright Brothers to transcontinental airlines within span of less than a lifetime. I’m sure that the first person who dreamed of traveling to the moon had no idea of what was involved in space travel or how much money people would be willing to invest in such adventures.

The capacity to imagine things that are beyond our reach has enabled humans to accomplish much that once was thought to be impossible.

I’m not one for living in my fantasies. I seem to be fully aware of what I am doing when I am dreaming of things that I’ll never accomplish. And there is an increasing practicality to my thought as I age. When I was younger, I didn’t know whether or not I’d own a private airplane when I got to be 60. Now I know the answer to that question. When I was younger, I didn’t know how many children we would have. Now I do, though there is still some mystery when it comes to grandchildren.

I’m not going to start building an ocean-going vessel in my backyard even if there may be a few more canoes or kayaks in my boat-building future. I’m not going to start writing the great American novel, though I’ll keep writing every day for some time to come. I don’t think I’ll take up skydiving, though I think I probably will have many more opportunities to ride in airplanes. I doubt that I’ll ever live in another country, though there are a few more international trips in my future and I’m sure I’ll renew my passport when it expires in 2021.

Perhaps our imaginations have to over shoot in order to help us think beyond the simple. Maybe we have to imagine really big adventures just to climb out of the ruts and routines that we form in everyday life. I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that my imagination, when I allow it to wander, will take me to places that I will never go in this life. I know that it isn’t a problem to have a few things that I can imagine but that I will never do. And who knows? Perhaps one of those wild fantasies will one day become a reality. After all, I’ve had many wonderful things happen in my life that I didn’t expect.

I’ll keep listening to the rain and allowing my mind to wander. Who knows what wonderful places it will lead?

Copyright (c) 2019 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!