Words of Hope: Spark of imagination

One of my dad’s favorite mentors was a man named Paul Nakai. He is a top leadership expert who helped advise after the space shuttle Challenger disaster as well as Three Mile Island accident.  

Paul came to the NBC Camps central office and led our team through several exercises. One exercise required the leadership staff to move around the conference table. The only rule was the person couldn’t go around in the same way someone had previously. People marched around quickly, slowly, they skipped and sang. The exercise’s lesson is that there are infinite ways to go around the table. Paul shared with us about problems. Problems cause people to foreclose on all the infinite possibilities. We metaphorically get stuck in the same way around the table in life, in marriage, or in solving problems. Especially under pressure, people tend to pick just one or two ways around the table and don’t try anything new. We can become caught in ruts with our family as well, locked in the same pattern of gridlock and blockage.  

What’s needed to get around the table in a new inventive way is the spark of imagination. Spark means to trigger or stimulate into action. Dad lived with the brightest spark. He was alight with so much imagination and creativity. Dad loved the count to 100 projects. He would create lists with 100 ways he loved people, or 100 ways to market something, or 100 ways to problem solve. 

· 100 reasons to be grateful 

· 100 ways to practice basketball well 

· 100 ways to thank God 

· 100 ways to strengthen friendships 

I consider my relationships that get stuck in a rut with me marching around the table the same stilted way hoping for something magical and only getting the same response. Maybe that’s why God asked Israel to march and sing around Jericho. It’s so radically different than anything anyone had done on planet earth. Singing, praising God, playing instruments around a stronghold of hostility and violence. I think and pray for this in my life. I pray I will imagine new ways to show love to Shann and my family members. I pray for people of peace to find new ideas for reconciliation and love. I pray for families who are so easily compelled toward divorce, fracture, or anger to choose forgiveness, mentoring, and grace. I pray for parents and children so easily compelled to distance, frustration, aggravation and bickering to choose friendship, encouragement, kindness, and careful listening. I pray that we will sing and pray, live with imagination and joy, trust God that the strongholds and ruts in our lives will be obliterated by God’s spark of imagination. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  

– Ephesians 2:10