I am sitting here at Dulles, waiting to board the plane to Istanbul, and I find myself thinking of Beyonce. Yes, that is correct, Beyonce. Or, more specifically, her alter-ego, Sasha Fierce. In case you didn’t know (and why would you), in interviews, Beyonce often talks about how, when she performs, she inhabits the character of Sasha Fierce–a strong, powerful woman, unafraid, uninhibited, bold and daring. Being this person on stage enables Beyonce to push herself beyond her own personal comfort zone, and it releases her from her own fears and shyness.
Why, you may ask, am I thinking about Beyonce right now? Well, it is because I am finding myself in need of a little Sasha Fierce myself. It has been only two short weeks since I got back from Japan, and much has happened since then. I’m feeling kind of ripped away from John and my home, and the thought of navigating yet another new country, another new culture and another new airport all by myself feels daunting, overwhelming, and a little deflating.
So, as I sit here, I am imagining my own alter-ego–let’s call her Jane Bond (because seriously, anything I would try to come up with on my own would only be lame). In my minds’ eye, she is smart, stylish (of course!), worldly, savvy, unflappable, and possesses a MacGyver-like ability to conquer any unforeseen difficulty with some chewing gum and a paper clip. Yes, this is the character I would like to inhabit for this trip.
I don’t know whether this simple reflection can bear the weight of theological interpretation or not, so I will make it quick and light. These thoughts have reminded me of the power of our imagination; and I firmly believe that imagination is a theological virtue–or at the very least, a spiritual discipline.
Imagination gives us the power to envision new possibilities that we hadn’t thought of before: new realities, new dreams, and new solutions. Imagination gives us the ability to see new things in ourselves, in others, in the world, and even in God that we heretofore had not considered. And finally, a robust imagination makes it possible not only to see new realities, but actually work to create them, taking them from potential to actual, theoretical to real.
In other words, through the ever-working creative Spirit of God, we can bring to life that which God inspires us to believe and to dream. And this is no small thing–as we see over and over again, without such imagination, we close in upon ourselves, and the whole world suffers from our lack of boldness, our lack of vision, and our lack of persistence. And, dare I say it, our lack of faith! Who is more audacious, daring and creative than our living God, the God who has always been with us, is with us now, and has promised always to be us–through dark nights, trial, and loneliness? What is there to fear? Instead, empowered by the loving presence of our God, surely we can be audacious, daring, and creative, too, right? At the very least, we can try.
So, in that light, call me Bond, Jane Bond. I’m going to have an amazing trip!