I have realised I am sadly no longer a fan of advent. The waiting paralyses me; the impossibility of hope, peace, justice and love lets me off the hook. But in the interest of not jettisoning thousands of years of faithful practice [just in case there’s some worth in it after all!], i am searching for what the ancient advent story might make possible.
This year I will practice the following. I think they’re faithful to an ancient story. I know they’re what I need to rediscover.
– i will practice acts of wild imagination
– i will practice letting what I am sure of be turned upside down
– i will practice being transformed
– i will practice making audacious choices
I hope i’ll do them within a framework of hope, peace, justice and love. I have a theory, though yet unproven, that they are what’s necessary if hope, peace, justice and love are to have any chance…
So this week’s task: wild imagination. I love imagination – i swear it keeps me breathing. I have to admit that the easiest imaginings to make real are those that are seemingly huge, because they’re so far out there, so divorced from current reality that they require the making of the new, not the changing of the old. I wonder if the greatest acts of imagination are those that believe the small things closest to us can, in reality, be very different. They’re harder acts of imagination because they involve changing ourselves, not the world.
I’ve been reading Lorna Hallahan’s essay ‘On Being Odd’ this week. It’s part of the Penguin collection of Best Australian Essays for 2010. I know I overuse adjectives on this blog, but this is an extraordinary piece of writing. It wouldn’t do justice to pick quotes to add here; the piece has to be read as a whole, and read over and over. I realised what made it so profound for me was that to honour the writing I had to not identify with it. I had to shut up, for once, and hear it.
I’m pretty convinced, actually, that one of the hardest acts of human imagination is to imagine another’s world and life as different to our own. That’s the kind of wild imagination I want to practice this week – letting another’s story simply be that; revelling and honouring another’s difference, and letting it change who I am.