Life feels like it has no beginning, middle or end these days. It’s more like a steady stream of strange events, one bleeding into the other, with no indication of what’s coming next. I keep wondering when things will change back, but maybe that’s the wrong question. It’s more accurate to wonder when things will change forward. I don’t imagine the world will ever look the same as it did before the pandemic and why should it? There were too many secrets and questionable behavior. Too many reasons for Me, Too. Too much unexpressed pain and sorrow and shame. Too much racism, favoritism and blame. So why should we feel nostalgic about it?
If we want to anticipate a future with more hope, kindness and opportunities for all, we need to develop a good imagination. When you imagine a future that doesn’t exist yet, how do you want it to look? So many of us feel dread and fear about the future, but what if we refused to imagine the worst? What if we used our mental discipline and made a commitment to imagine the best? When I was young, my mother told me not to expect good things to happen because I might be disappointed. But I found out that disappointment didn’t kill me. It only made me stronger. It nudged me to try again and hope for the best.
If even a small part of you believes that thoughts have the magnetic power of attraction, that imagining the best just might help manifest wonderful things, why not give it a try? If we want a new leader for our country, why waste time imagining that it can’t happen? See it coming to pass. If we want equality, why not imagine it can happen? See it happening. If it doesn’t work, we’ll deal with it. If it does, we’re a step closer to John Lennon’s classic lyrics:
IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE LIVING LIFE IN PEACE.
I HOPE SOME DAY YOU’LL JOIN US
AND THE WORLD WILL LIVE AS ONE.
Imagine how it would feel to walk out your front door, get into your car and fear for your life. Imagine how it would feel to be outside after dark and hope you don’t get beat up by the people who are supposed to be protecting you. Some of us don’t have to imagine it. Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen courageous people of all colors swear unity to each other, face their fears publicly, find the stamina to keep going, and make change happen. When they fell, I watched them get up. When they got hit with tear gas and rubber bullets, I watched them rinse out their eyes, patch up their wounds, and get right back out there. I heard them speak the truth even when it was unpopular and they’re still doing it.
After the policemen were charged with the murder of George Floyd, the people didn’t stop protesting because those four arrests were a drop in the bucket of a lifetime of beatings, injustices and deaths. They want everything that should have been theirs for hundreds of years. They want to live. They want the same freedoms that their fellow citizens have and I hope they don’t stop yelling and marching until they get it. After a lifetime of pain, loss and torture, I pray that we listen to these voices and imagine a future where people feel safe and free in a society that touts freedom but doesn’t grant it to everyone. If we don’t give up, we can make these things happen.
Let’s forget about our world changing back and imagining it changing forward. Let’s stop dreading the worst, start imagining the best and see what we can come up with.
How fertile is your imagination? Can you see anything good in the future?