Imagination came by the house when I was just a little girl and asked a lot of questions.
fish were leaves?
clouds could be eaten?
you could talk to mice?
every rock was a diamond?
hair was really worms?
fairies swam in the ponds?
I giggled. I laughed. And together we played for hours.
Then Imagination turned on me and for a while we were not friends.
the iron is on and the doors are unlocked?
darkness really is dangerous?
the baby never sleeps?
One foot slips?
I am not ever the person I want to be?
The boys get hurt?
My husband leaves?
We all get lost?
And no one finds us?
Later still I understood...
my wondering was not a jail cell?
imaging opens doors?
too little is not enough?
my own needs are not selfish?
pain holds answers to what is wrong?
feelings don't need a justification, just the right to be felt?
tenderness opens my world to embrace joy and suffering?
amazing lives inside us all?
my writing is one day read?
...and asking what if adds to the depth of those words?
What ifs are guides, not gods. They are the freedom to think outside possibilities, they are not the possibilities themselves. They are neither friend nor foe, and ask nothing more than to be acknowledged occasionally or birthed in due season. What ifs are not the boxes we build to put things inside, they are the keys to locks on lids. The only thing that makes What ifs dangerous are the answers we give in fear.
Without What ifs there would be no imagination. There would be no story tellers and there would be no stories to tell.
Have you met a What if lately? What did it ask and what did you say?