I think the quote illustrated above represents quite perfectly the issue I hope to address in this article. The prevalence of this problem was made startlingly evident to me just a little while back, when an old and very dear friend stated emphatically and honestly that she did not like fantasy books, in any way, shape, or form. As a lover of all things imaginative, I was cut to the heart, and could barely form words to reply (in a polite manner) to this unequivocal and, to me, most unfamiliar philosophy.
My younger days centred quite wholly around books (as they still do and will always), and I literally cannot remember a time when I wasn’t devouring some exciting new classic, such as Peter Pan. I recall leaving my bedroom window open for quite some time after reading it, in fervent and vague hopes that Tink and Peter would fly in and escort me to a land of pirates and redskins. That glad day never arrived, sadly, and so I contented myself with imagining what it would have been like for Wendy and her two brothers to enjoy that great adventure, so dear to the thoughts of many children still.
See, imagination is a very strong and important influence in the world of a child. It leads the young on so many new and marvelous paths, while strengthening that ineffable, inimitable sense of wonder and joy at the glory of God’s creation. That sense of wonder does sometimes remain, if carefully preserved and nurtured, into the teenage years and even occasionally into adulthood. But with the accelerated maturity of today’s youth, there is usually no attempt made at retaining the youthful sentiments mentioned above. Instead, kids these days are encouraged--no, I should rather say pushed--to believe in only real things. No Santa Claus. No fairies. No anything of that stupid and made-up ilk.
I myself can think of many long-past examples of being made fun of for my fantastical beliefs in the world of the fantastical; such things as fairies were just not cool. They were labelled as babyish and foolish, but I couldn’t--and still don’t--understand this strange, realist mentality. Whatever happened to being a child for a bit? To dreaming blissfully of inhabiting the rosy worlds of Narnia, and Middle Earth? Imagination is fast being eradicated, and there is really not so much we can do it except to keep it alive within ourselves--and remember to hold fast to the joy and wonder that is all too easily lost and crushed with the passing of the years. Keep in mind the words of the Gospel of Matthew, “Unless you become again as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Do not lose the amazement at the grandeur of God, for it is all too possible that with losing that, you will lose the way to heaven.