I've always thought of imagination as being a good thing. As a child, my imaginings or those of my siblings and cousins made for many hours of made-up fun. One of us would say, "Let's play house or cowboys and Indians or tea party or dress up..." and away we would go, each one adding to the story line created by our imaginations.
I've always adored this photo of my sister and me and our Robert's girl cousins playing dress up. How I wish I could remember what our story line was that day! I know we had one! Or two or three. We probably argued over who got to wear what as well as what we were playing at.
Betty and I spent hours roaming the farm playing sheriff and outlaws, tracking the 'bad guys' to their hideouts and then capturing them after a wild shootout.
And after our cute little brother came along when she was eight and I was ten, we added him into our fun - dressing him up, feeding him his lines. I still can't figure out why he grew up to write sci-fi books instead of westerns! But I like to think I had something to do with the development of his imagination. Oh, wait, that might be the reason he does write sci-fi instead of another genre.
And while I might have imagined what it would be like to have children of my own, I never could have imagined the fierce love and protectiveness I felt for them.
Nor the joy, love and pride I have felt from having nine grandchildren. No one can explain how you are going to feel about being a grandma until you are one.
There is another song about imagining - John Lennon's: "Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today..."
The imagining of my life now is much more along these lines, especially when I wake in the night and can't go back to sleep. As my 97-year-old friend said: "It's not that we worry about dying, but about how we die." I imagine another stroke - and if it kills me, fine, but I don't want to be partially incapacitated and have to have someone take care of me. I worry about what the world will be like for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to survive in. In other words, my imagination is running away with me and it runs to the dark side.
My imagination doesn't seem such a good thing anymore.