“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge — myth is more potent than history — dreams are more powerful than facts — hope always triumphs over experience — laughter is the cure for grief — love is stronger than death.” – Robert Fulghum
Sitting with my 3-year-old granddaughter this morning, I marveled again at her ability to create story lines and characters in her make-believe play. She’s so incredibly adept at it, that I hardly keep up as she changes who my character is supposed to be, and what they’re supposed to do! “No Mimi, you’re not Walter the mechanic anymore, you’re Maggie!” Worlds are conceived, and roles are established. If we’re building sand castles, seaweed might emerge as a feared monster, and shells can be transformed into people in danger. The rules change with the rushing tide.
All man(or woman) made creations ever in existence, whether artistic, architectural, mechanical, or simply aesthetically pleasing, were first-born in someone’s imagination.
“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, 1942
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” ~Michelangelo
Of course the knowledge has to exist to carry out the vision, to bring it to fruition, to be admired, but imagination to envision arrived first.
Could myth be more important than history? Historical events can be recorded at the time and place that the events occurred, primary sources, secondary sources, and archeological discoveries can reveal history. But what about the events, or natural occurrences that don’t arrive with a time stamp and a place of origin label? That’s when humans throughout the ages have created myths. By observing the natural world and using both the knowledge we have and our imaginative abilities, we humans have created wonderous stories, providing explanations, causes, or justifications for a society’s history, a natural phenomenon, or religious beliefs and rituals . Our myths feature supernatural heroes, heroines, forces, and creatures that are by their very nature wonderous. Historical timelines, names and dates aren’t usually as wonderous. And although we can learn much about ourselves and others from reviewing our histories, we learn a great deal more about a culture’s heritage and beliefs from studying their creation stories and myths.
Facts-vs-Dreams. Facts are factual. They stand alone; verifiable, precise, undetered, conclusive, exact. Dreams are magnetic, expansive, aspirations, that are without limits. Dreams are the fire starters that propel the human race forward.
Life is experiential. As humans we start accumulating experiences of all types from the very moment we’re born, but it’s hope that allows us to endure, to withstand, to overcome, and to take that next first step in our quest.
“The wings of hope carry us, soaring high above the driving winds of life.” ~Ana Jacob
“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” ~Christopher Reeve
When the world says,”Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
Laughter has long been lauded as having great physiological and emotional effects. Laughter has been credited with lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, and even activating chemicals that elevate mood and promote positive immune system responses. You can even attend a Laughter Yoga class now! Most of us have heard the saying, ” I’ve got to laugh to keep from crying.” Tyler Perry even has a play by that title. And most of us probably also experienced a situation that was far from laughable, but there wasn’t any other way to get through it, over it, or by it, without laughing at ourselves and our situations.
Grief is our response to loss. Depending on what or who it is we’re losing, the emotion can range from what may feel bearable to what may feel life threatening, but laughter can get us through the darkness, however short or long the tunnel may be. I focused on my granddaughter’s silly antics this morning, laughing with her and at her, when I really felt like crying over the impending death of my mother. Wherever we are, literally or emotionally, there is always a pinpoint of light, that if we allow ourselves to focus on it, will lead us out of the darkness and shed a little light on our otherwise dismal and dark situation.
And that brings us to love and death. The reason I chose this quote today.
He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory,
abides with us,
nay, more present than the living man.
What we have once enjoyed we can never lose;
All that we love deeply, becomes a part of us.
I now face the knowledge that my mother is in the “transition to death” stage of her life, It seems as if an ocean of tears is about to well up from deep in my chest. My heart feels leaden. But I cling to that surety, the certain and undeniable truth that love is. And although we may love and lose, love and divorce, and love and die, love never does. You can’t erase love. Love was. Love is. Love will always be. Those loved are never lost, even though they leave. Love lives, and our beloved will live within our hearts, always.
Peace & Love