By Tim Chermak
“All this has happened before, and it will all happen again. But this time it happened in London. It happened on a quiet street in Bloomsbury. That corner house over there is the home of the Darling family. And Peter Pan chose this particular house because there were people here who believed in him…”
It was 1904.
Scottish novelist James Barrie’s character Peter Pan, a rebellious young boy who refused to grow up, had begin to attract major public attention. He was introduced in the book The Little White Bird in 1902. While this book was a novel meant for adults, it quickly caught on to a much greater audience. Peter Pan’s fame exploded when portions of the novel were turned into a live action play, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, in December of 1904.
Forty-nine years later, Walter Elias Disney cultivated the story into a feature-length animated movie.
In the Disney film, Peter’s character is a fierce young boy who is adamantly sure that he never wants to become an adult. He is obsessed with adventure and stories. His imagination runs wild. He is careless, but courageous. He is relaxed, but resolute. He hasn’t yet grown up.
In our culture’s never ending quest to obtain material wealth and prosperity, is it wrong to say that perhaps, maybe, possibly, we left our imaginations behind?
Could it be that we are so busy creating profits that we have forgotten to create the future? Is it feasible to suggest that in a world dominated by stock market numbers, political wars, and corporate scandals, what’s missing is storytelling?
Beyond storytelling, perhaps we don’t even believe in stories anymore. Maybe our imaginations have eroded on a linear, or even worse, an exponential pace, with our age. Maybe our tolerance of pure “faith” has been destroyed by the scientific quest for hard knowledge that can be proved.
“Peter Pan chose this particular house because there were people here who believed in him.”
Throughout history, God has used many people to accomplish His plans for humanity. I believe that He either works because of us, or in spite of us. Either way, we will be used. Which side are you on?
In our daily quest to pursue truth, maybe imagination is the missing ingredient.
Walt Disney once famously remarked, “I can never stand still. I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with my work. I resent the limitations of my own imagination.”
When we began to believe, things start to happen-often far beyond our wildest dreams. Imagination is the first step in any journey. When we lose our imagination, we become domesticated, and domestication is a sworn enemy of any person of faith.
According to Jesus, “Children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
If imagination is as essential to life as history shows, here’s to never growing up.
Tim is a writer hoping that somehow, someway, his work will influence the world in a positive way. He is currently an undergraduate student at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.