The imaginations of 4-year-olds is an amazing thing. When you are 4, anything is possible. Building blocks can really be a dinosaur and cars can fly. You can be anything you want to be, whether a superhero or a horse. When you are 4, your world is not contained in boxes built by adult knowledge and common sense reality. When you are 4 — imagination rules.

It’s too bad that adults tend to lack such vibrant and special imagination. Things make way too much sense for most adults because that’s how we are comfortable. It seems dangerously childlike to step too far outside the bounds of our own reality, or what we believe to be reality, to imagine things to be different than we have always seen or known them to be.

I sometimes think that we need more imagination, not because reality is bad but because our reality is sometimes not necessarily truth. Maybe imagination is what it would take to see past our preconceived realities to see people and situations in a new light.

What if, for a time, we could suspend judgement and imagine that all people aren’t bad? What if we could imagine that there is good in people and that “they” aren’t out to get us? Could we imagine that even people with whom we disagree can have good hearts?

Maybe we can imagine that there is a spark of the Divine in every person and that many people just don’t realize they have that within them. Maybe we could imagine that this spark is available to anyone who is willing to find it in them self or in another.

Is there a chance that we could imagine that hope is real and that hope is stronger than despair? That would mean believing and living as if all I see and have seen is not all that is possible and that there is a reason to try again and to reach out to people and situations I have never considered before.

Jesus asked his followers to imagine. Over and over again he presented an alternate reality to the one they knew and asked them to imagine it was real. Imagine a world in which we loved others as we love ourselves or a world in which the hungry go away filled and the sick and injured are healed because it is the right thing to do. Imagine a world where we go the extra mile just because someone needs us, not because we are forced. Imagine giving out of the heart and not out of promise of reward. Imagine that love is stronger than hate and that God’s love covers all human creatures equally.

Jesus even dared to say that those who best knew the Kingdom of God around them were the children. Maybe it is because children haven’t learned the “reality” we know. I pray that the 4-year-olds can grace us all with a little very special imagination.

Dan Dixson is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He serves as Chaplain and Bereavement Specialist at Partners In Home Care Hospice. He can be reached at dixsond@partnersinhomecare.org

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