“My momma always had a way of explaining things so I could understand. ”
Those are Forrest Gump’s words, but that’s what I can say about my momma too. I remember being sick and laying in her king size bed with the crushed red velvet headboard. She would stroke my forehead and explain to me how there was a war in my body. There were soldiers dressed in red and soldiers dressed in white. They were fighting each other. Whether she had her facts straight, or whether I’ve forgotten I’m not sure. She would tell me that the white soldiers were my white blood cells, they were the good guys. The red soldiers were the sickness and they were the bad guys. She would tell me to picture the white soldiers winning the war. And I would. In my mind it was hand to hand combat, no cannon balls or airplane bombs. I would close my eyes and I would watch the white soldiers thrust their swords in the red soldiers hearts, watch them collapse to the snow-covered ground, draw the swords out, and move on to kill another one. She would gently croon that the white soldiers are out numbering the red ones. They white soldiers are winning. And I would watch it all happen in my mind.
Now when I’m sick, I still see that battle scene.
A different time during my childhood she explained to me that my brain is like a computer and that it is recording every event in my life, every word ever spoken, everything I’ve ever seen, everything I’ve ever done, and then filing it all away in my memory. It’s all in there, my whole life, but there’s just so much that I can’t remember it all. It’s stored away.
Of course, like most children, I too was a literal child. So when I heard this, I imagined a little man. I can still see him today. He lives in my brain. It’s dark in there and he works by a dim light. He sits at a little wooden desk with a feather pen and paper and he furiously writes and scribbles down every word, every event, every experience in my existence. Behind him are filing cabinets. They line the walls and the dark corners of my brain. Some cabinet drawers have absent mindedly been left open, with pages protruding out of their files. He’s so busy scribbling away on his little stool, however, that he is behind on his filing. On each side of him stand towers and mountains of papers that need to be filed. He really needs an assistant. He’s overworked. Especially the way my mind jumps from one thing to another. Talk about job-related stress, he’s got it for sure.
Sometimes when I try to recall a memory, I shut my eyes and see him working away. I feel sorry for him. He’s so busy. He’ll walk to the file cabinet and open a drawer. Sometimes he can’t find the word or event I’m searching for in the dark corners. Might I add that this has been happening with much more frequency lately. His piece of scribbled paper has been filed in the wrong place or maybe it’s buried in the stacks of papers on his desk. Then I get mad at him for not helping me remember. But it doesn’t do any good. He’s working as fast as he can.
Our minds are such powerful things. I heard once that the brain is so complex that it cannot figure itself out.
Think on that one awhile.
What happens to us in our adulthood that makes us stop using our imaginations? When does life become so real?
Sometimes I long to revisit the imagination of my childhood.
When was the last time you visited yours?
Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!
Author: Dr. Seuss
Were it not for imagination, a man would be as happy in the arms of a chambermaid as of a duchess.
Author: Samuel Johnson