Bigger than My Imagination

In their latest TV commercial, AT&T features the song "Pure Imagination" from the classic 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The voice over says, "Remember when you were 5 and anything was possible?" Children's drawings dreamily float and fly around big-city skyscrapers. The AT&T logo flashes on the screen so quickly at the end, you almost miss it. Have you seen it?

I like that the song has re-emerged in the public consciousness. I've even found myself singing that delightful lilting melody lately. (Incidentally, when I think of Willy Wonka, I always think of Gene Wilder, never Johnny Depp in a strange girly wig -- ew.) Willy Wonka was the man who sang, "There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you'll be free, if you truly wish to be." He was the man who dreamed his inventions into life...the more bizarre, the better. Fizzy Lifting Drinks, Everlasting Gobstoppers, a chocolate lake.

Do you remember when anything was possible?

I do.

I was Dorothy in ruby slippers. I was a private investigator who took on neighborhood cases for 25 cents each. I was a lemonade stand entrepreneur. I was a city planner of sorts who raked trails through the leaves in the backyard and mapped them out on paper. The flower garden was a fairy wonderland for Barbies and She-Ra Princess of Power dolls. I was Cyndia Lauper for Halloween in 1984. This is a picture from that era of my friend and me.

Those who can pretend possess a marvelous ability that, quite honestly, they take for granted. Most of them are 12 and under. They live in a different world than the rest of us. They know in their little heads that what they pretend is not real, but a part of them that believes that it is.

I say this because I remember looking into the brown eyes of my mutt dog Nacho as a kid and whispering to her, "Nacho, if you can talk, show me! Right now! I promise I won't tell anyone!" I don't think I would have been that surprised if she had.

Yes, I adore spending time with my own children. But when it comes to pretending, I am not on their level. They are much more advanced than I am. They are where I used to be. I try to contribute, but my own storylines fall short compared to the limitlessness of their imagined worlds. Below is a picture of today's shenanigans, Extreme Home Makeover: Bird Edition.

"Toyland, toyland," goes the old song, "Little girl and boy land, once you pass its borders, you can never return again." Believe me, I've tried. I can "play" at playing, but I'm too far into adulthood now for Toyland to let me back in. I can stand at its city gates and look in, amazed at the little citizens there, fully immersed in their play -- where their inventions and creations are just as real as Willy Wonka's.

They are little creators, made in the image of the Creator himself. So it stands to reason that they would make it their aim to turn their play dreams into realities. To see the ideas in their heads take shape in concrete ways. To make up stories as rehearsals for the dramas of real life ahead of them. That is imagination.

Think about this: the greatest, happiest, and most delightful things you imagined as a kid pale in comparison to all that the Creator has planned. Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (emphasis mine) I'm not speaking of the "prosperity gospel" that many TV preachers favor. What I mean is that God's imagination is so much more expansive than ours. The difference is that whatever He imagines...is reality. Just as my children are in a different realm of imagination than I am, so the Father's ways and thoughts are infinitely higher than anyone's here on earth.

Willy Wonka could not wait to show the chocolate room to the golden ticket winners. He proudly opened the door slowly, relishing the suspense and watching their faces. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him," says 1 Corinthians 2:9. I cannot even begin to speculate what lies on the other side of the door between here and eternity.

My imagination...is not enough.


  1. aww the pic of you and your friend is so very cute!!

  2. Hi! Thanks so much for linking up for our blog hop yesterday! I am your newest following and I would love if you would return the follow! :)


  3. I love this post and the picture is great! It is such a wonderful thing when we are kids and our imagination can take us anywhere! Hopping by from Friday's blog hop! You have a new follower! Come visit me at Mama's Little Chick.

    Mama Hen

  4. Beautiful post! I love the imagery of Willy Wonka opening the chocolate room combined with that verse "no eye has seen..." Beautiful! And love the photos, too! ♥ Michelle

  5. Cute post! And I LOVE that ocmmercial because of the song - so dreamy! Love it!

    xo Erin

  6. Neat post! I love it that we can stop and recall the things that allow us to believe big and sweetly now. (I like the Gene Wilder character too!)
    Following you.
    Thanks for linking up this week! I will have a new one on Tuesday! Hope you'll check it out. www.BreeBee.com

  7. You have one of the greatest adult imaginations I've ever encountered. Your creativity through your writing and your song is always inspiring.

  8. Hum, well I am re-following or maybe I thought I had and really didn't - but, I am following and very glad to, your writings are very nice!!! www.breebee.com

  9. Beautifully written, Jennifer!! You truly have a gift for writing! I look forward to following your blog... BTW, love the name! Tripp has been missing Carson this summer :) Hope to see you guys soon!

  10. Inspiring, delightful. I never saw Willy Wonka but now I will definitely look for it. And I agree about the commercial and the song. Our grown-up imaginations could never compare with that of a child's, but I do love to turn on music, sit back and close my eyes, trying to think what eternity will be like. At least for a few moments it is good to release my earthly worries and think on "these things" as Paul says in Philippians 4:8.
    Keep using your gift, it brings blessings to everyone it touches.
    You are loved.

  11. This was a really nice post. Made me sit back and remember when I was little. Awesome.

    Thanks for flying with us on Friday.


  12. Following you via FMBT. Pls follow me back @ http://masalabowl.blogspot.com/

  13. Hi! I'm visiting from Follow Me Back Tuesday. I'm your newest follower. I look forward to getting to know you! Candace~♥


  14. morning - I've never been here before! Glad I saw you from iFellowship!


  15. Praise God for His plans! I know His plans are much greater than mine!

    Stopping by via iFellowship!

  16. Hello! Great post. There used to be a Country Time Lemonade commercial about 10 years ago that showed kids playing in the summertime, jumping off of docks, swinging etc. It reminds me of your post.

    Stopping by from iFellowship. Have a great Wednesday.


  17. This post is so beautiful - I have so many things I want to say in response and I almost don't know where to start.

    I like this commercial - I believe that it is Kenny Loggins sitting there, but I'm not positive. I know that the Pure Imagination song is on one of his Children's CDs (Return to Pooh Corner, we love it!).

    I remember truly believing that I could fly if I just tried hard enough, that I could move things via telekinesis (never happened)
    and that if I knocked on the wall in my closet in the middle of the night that it would take me to a magical land (too many choose-your-own-adventures books!).

    I have recently discovered that I stink at role-playing with my almost-5-yr-old. It's really kind of sad. Wonder if that's something we can re-learn?

    Anyway, thanks for writing this post - I love your writing style!

    Stephanie aka The Helping Mommy

  18. Stephanie, thanks for sharing your imagination memories here....LOVED the Choose Your Own Adventure books! Glad you could relate. Thank you for reading. (Kenny Loggins? You really think so? I've gotta check on that!)

  19. Hey Jennifer - yes, pls let me know what you find out re: Kenny Loggins!

    I don't know a whole lot about Blogger....I'm a Wordpress gal myself. Sorry!

    If you're on Twitter, you can ask blogging questions with the hash tag #savvyblogging and you'll get some good responses. :)

    Thanks again for stopping by my blog and for checking out iFellowship!

  20. Oh yea. I used to dream about being a rockstar. Sometimes I still do lol. I'm a little behind but I'm following you from FMBT: http://angiewith2.blogspot.com/

  21. That was awesome! Oh to be a child in imagination--always stuck between good and evil. I will always be she-ra with a leather belt over one shoulder with a broken broom stick in my waistband lol.
    I'm a new follower from ff..nice to "meet" you.


  22. I found you via Friday Follow. I am thrilled to follow your wonderful blog. It is a special gift to be able to make life-applications to scripture the way you have here. Keep up the good work. Great writing.

    come visit me at Steadfast. Rosemary

  23. I'm stopping by from Blog Hop Friday & am your newest follower.

    If you have a chance, I'd love for you to stop by my blog, follow back and take a moment to enter any of the current 4 giveaways {low entries}.

    Have a great weekend



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