I’ve heard it said that man is the only animal with an imagination. Whoever said that was a man without a cat. Cats stalk and torment more imaginary mice than real ones, especially if inclement weather has kept them stuck in the house for too long. (For reasons I can’t fathom, most make-believe mice live underneath throw rugs.)
Our rascally tabby, Smokey [see 8-13-11 blog], loves to pretend he’s an African lion hunting gazelles in the Serengeti. In the absence of gazelles, our Nigerian goats will do. Smokey loves to creep out onto a Russian olive branch and lie in wait to ambush poor Blueberry and Meels, or to stalk them in the tall weeds and grass before dashing in for the kill. Sometimes the kids are startled and run away from him--until they discern the diminutive grey lion’s identity, that is. Then they rear up on their hind legs and charge Smokey; the latter will just plop down on the ground, casually rolling in the dirt or licking a paw as if to say, Relax, girls. I was just kidding. At this point, the “gazelles” resume their browsing, and the “lion” disappears to his lair.
If you’ve hung out with horses, you know that they possess a vivid imagination as well. Given a plunging barometer and a good stiff wind, horses envision mortal enemies lurking behind every other tree, sagebrush or weed. I’ve never seen these beasts and can only surmise that they’re invisible to the human eye. Nevertheless, it seems that they wait until a horse has just passed their hiding place, whereupon they leap out, gnashing teeth and brandishing claws that spook even the sanest horse.
One Saturday when my son Zach was two or three, he announced from his perch on the monkey bars: “I Superman. I gonna fly.” Before I could reach him, he stretched his arms forward and launched himself into the air. His imagination led to a crash landing which in turn led us to the emergency room (fortunately nothing serious)!
Now that Zach is on a student exchange to India for a year, it would be so easy for me to imagine all kinds of terrible things happening to him over there, alone, on the other side of the world. Disease, crime, terrorism, accidents would not be unheard of—but wait, he’s not alone—God’s in India too, and so is Zach’s overworked and underpaid guardian angel (the kid climbs mountains). Not only do I know he’ll be okay, I believe that he’ll be better than okay.
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams.” Ephesians 3:20, MSG