Stories for Piper and Posterity (#3): Imagination


Piper, today is Nona Katie’s birthday. Nona Katie is my mom, and she lives in heaven now with God and his angels and all those who have gone before us.

I have wondered if you would be born on her birthday, but you seem to be happily nested and showing no signs of arriving today. While you bide your time before entering this world, let me tell you a bit about Nona Katie.

When I was born, Nona Katie was barely an adult (at twenty-one). She had a youthful, fun loving spirit that was full of imagination. Sometimes in my life, it was hard to know who was older – Nona or me – because while I was like Nona in that I also love fun and laughter, I think perhaps I was born with an old soul that has felt the heaviness of the world since I was very small.

Nona would make me laugh, and she fueled my imagination. Imagination is a wonderful gift. It makes life fun when things are good, and it helps you escape when things are not so good.

I grew up in an old Victorian that had many nooks and crannies. Nona told stories about secret families that lived in the cupola, mice that lived in the basement, and ghosts that wandered the stairs. She believed she could time travel, and she would describe our street from 100 years before – something she saw once in the middle of the night when she looked out her window (most likely a dream, my skeptical voice still thinks). Nona taught me to look for leprechauns under four leaf clovers and to keep a close eye out for fairies in the Lily of the Valley that filled the gap between our house and the neighbor to the north. She taught me to dance when the tulips first popped their sleepy heads out of the earth because they were a sign of spring and new life and eternal hope!

Nona also lit the spark of imagination in my soul with books. She read to me when I was very small, all cuddled up on her lap (I am so looking forward to doing that with you, Piper!), and she read next to me as soon as I was old enough to read on my own. She and Poppy taught me to read words when I was only two years old. (They were both teachers.) Before long, I would search for quiet corners in the house to read.

Nona helped create these quiet corners. She created a space between the back of the couch and the wall (away from my noisy, younger siblings), and there she would deliver junk mail to me. I would pretend to read letters from the far away places that Grandma Retta visited. (I will tell you about Grandma Retta and her trips another time.) Nona also created a secret place for me by hanging a curtain over the hole in a desk where the chair would go. Behind that curtain, I would leave the Victorian and fly to places around the world.

The imagination Nona fostered when I was very young helped me become a writer, and more importantly, it has helped me cling to the God of hope because I have learned to keep my ears carefully tuned for things other people might miss – the beautiful whispers of God.

So, dear Piper, that is a legacy of Nona’s that I hope to pass on to you. I hope you see the impossible instead of only the possible. I hope you explore the world and look for fairies and leprechauns, but even if you never find them, you can know for sure that you will one day see angels – which are really much cooler than fairies and leprechauns – and they are for sure REAL.

And mostly, I hope your imagination helps you always look for the good that God is doing, and I hope it helps you search for the light when all that is visible seems dark, and I hope it inspires you to have the faith to believe and KNOW:

“All things are possible with God.”

”Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

“God is able to do immeasurably more than we even imagine.”

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