Sunday, May 01, 2005

Fishing with your mind

Fishing with your mind

a striped bass breaks the surface
as the sunset fades away
and our journey from the sea of storms
takes us home besides the bay
we go fishing in the ocean
we go traveling back in time
like the song says teach your children
to go fishing with their mind

That is an interesting way of putting it - fishing with their mind. Jimmy Buffett came up with that verse for his song Beach House on the Moon . The song is better listened to - than pondered for the depth of its meanings - but all the same, this gem resides about 3⁄4 of the way through. It is clear he means to teach his son to use his imagination.
The imagination is an amazing toy in the toolbox of life. Without it, you will be bored, dull and uninteresting. With it, you will always be able to find a way to overcome any adversity. Example: At the Masters Golf Tournament, Tiger Woods found himself facing a difficult shot on the 16th hole. The ball was lodged against the cut of the grass making it impossible to get the wedge down on the ball cleanly. Yet somehow, Tiger was able to hit the ball forcefully enough to pop it out of its tough lie, scoot across 1⁄4 of the green before it comes to a screeching halt, only to roll sideways down to the cup, pausing momentarily on the edge - just long enough for his sponsor, Nike, to get a commercial out of the deal - before it topples into the cup with its logo showing. If you are a golfer, you know that was an impossible shot. If you are not a golfer, trust me, it was an impossible shot. However, it couldn’t have even come close to that - without imagination.
Last week an old friend of mine decided it was time to end it all and try to commit suicide. A mother of two with a lot to live for, decided to just give up. She had always been one of those people who are constantly bored and had always tried to fill the emptiness inside with many diversions. Some of them got her into trouble and some that just incrementally damaged her relationships and the quality of her life. She is a sweet person and was always fun to be around. But she never knew how to channel her creativity or encourage her imagination. Another friend of mine back in high school was more successful in his attempt. He died in his car in the garage. Another died of a drug overdose - which is another form of suicide. In their own ways, each of these three are and were captives of minds that had a poorly developed imagination.
When books were the prime entertainment medium you had to use your imagination to visualize the events as they happened. Even as a child when pro baseball was played nightly only on the radio, you had to be able to imagine the plays as they unfolded - as Harry Caray would describe in detail the power of Bob Gibson’s pitch or the 6-4-3 double play as the St. Louis Cardinals marched toward their World Series with the Tigers.
Today, we have all the imagination wrapped up in celluloid boxes to be plugged into your xbox or play station. And your mission is to fix what is left of your imagination on what it would be like to take a head shot or splatter your enemy’s guts all over a wall. Is it any wonder our imaginations are fixated on death? Is it any wonder two teenagers can walk through a school in Colorado and ruthlessly kill kids that they deemed to be “the enemy”?
What happens when the imaginative generation finally passes away and is replaced by following generations of kids, raised on video games and Ritalin, where thinking has been turned over to drugs and computer technology and those smart enough to program them? Where will we as a planet be then?
Without hope? Maybe.
Without trust? Probably
Without Love? Undoubtedly
My cousin’s son was recently grounded from his xBox. It was taking too much of his time. Good kid - just lacked motivation to do anything but sit in front of the TV and play Halo. Now after a couple of months away from the TV, he has discovered baseball and wants to grow up to be a pitcher. He has developed friendships he never thought he had. He has begun learning to communicate with his family. He has even begun reading again. He has a bright future! He’s a smart kid. We can only hope more parents are smart enough to do what his parents did for him. They truly love him.
My friend will probably survive this attempt to kill herself. I certainly hope so. My wife and I have very fond memories of her and would hate to see this wonderful person’s life cut short. Even though we haven’t seen her in many years - our memory and imaginations make it as if she was just here yesterday. Same with John and Eddie. Our lives end far too soon - far too soon. Far too soon to help the death process along.
Encourage those you love. Right now! Don’t wait another moment! Praise them - even when they aren’t expecting it. Support them when they are in need. Never turn your back on them. Try to never let them down. Love them enough to serve them - even when it may cost you more than you expected. Most of all forgive them if they hurt you. Because if you don’t forgive, they will feel guilty and guilt will condemn you both.
Be imaginative. Think of ways you can participate in this most wondrous story we call life.

You don't have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body. - C.S. Lewis


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