If you are friends with Meg on Facebook you saw this quote. We took the girls with us to vote and as Phoebe got out of the van, she said:
“Where is the water?”
Phoebe: “Where are all the boats?”
Meg: “We are Voting not Boating!”
Now, after all the television ads and junk mail (not to mention Friend’s Facebook posts), a trip tubing and skiing seems a fair reward for voting. And I can imagine such a world. But in reality there were long lines and so many people that they let folks vote at tables rather than in the booths. So there I was explaining to Ivy the process as I penciled in my votes and across the table was some man. It felt like grade school when I needed to cover my answers – only this time, maybe I wanted him to copy off me…
But imagination is always larger than life. This is why books are better than movies. It is not that books are more detailed. But that a movie, with pictures, fills in all the details. A book requires our mind’s eye. And there we can imagine bigger and grander things than any film can offer.
Yet some moments in life are bigger than our imagination.
This weekend is the marriage retreat. Last Sunday I gave all the guys a bag of romantic ideas for their wives (Audrey, my sister, helped me come up with the ideas.) So each morning I woke up early to write on the mirror or set out kisses (the Hershey kind, but I hoped for the lip kind in return!) and in this I was reminded of how much I love Megan. Not that I forgot, but it was good and fun to do so many little acts for her.
And here is where I realized life – reality – can be better than imagination. Than anything. No one can capture falling in love. That feeling can not be described. A book or movie could write a better story. But nothing can capture the feeling of my heart bursting inside my chest when I realized I loved Meg. It was the worst place – driving down I-44. But I told her anyway. Because I could not contain it. A writer would have placed it under the stars or with flowers… but no imaginative trip could be as good as knowing and saying “I love you”. And then hearing it in return.
Paul in his great chapter on Love (1 Corinthians 13) turns abruptly from love to comparing this world to heaven. It is a strange transition, as he writes, “Now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
But it is all drawn together with the next line, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
I believe imagination can take us beyond this world. To a better place (or a worse place, depending the bend of your dreams-nightmares). But only faith, hope, and love. Take us beyond even an imaginative world and enter us into the very presence of God. Who is Love.
So when we love our wife, our kids, our neighbor – especially our enemy. We experience a fore-taste of age to come. Something not even faith and hope can bring – because “the greatest of these is love.”