Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bring on the Whimsy

This morning, I saw my neighbor's dog, Murphy, walking in a bright yellow doggie raincoat. He stood up on his back paws and greeted me, looking more human than canine. Then, I saw a little girl carrying an umbrella shaped like a dragon over her head . Huge pointing scales, triangular and menacing, slithered down her back. I felt like I had temporarily entered some whimsical world where dogs act civilized in bright yellow rain gear and little girls enjoy the protection of dragons atop their heads. I looked up just in case an owl should swoop down to deliver my mail.

Why do whimsical things delight us so much? Why do we recite The Jabberwocky or go see Alice in Wonderland and Avatar? Why are we so entranced by the world of Hogwarts or Narnia or Neverland?

The little dog turned human or the girl with her dragon ripped open the rational world for me this morning. All at once, I thought of a fantasy world, an alternate reality existing parallel to my own. In this world, the rules are all different. It's the Mad Hatter's tea party on this side of things, and I barely know how to get my footing. It's dangerous, weird, and most of all, wonderful.

Whimsy refers to something playfully odd, something unpredictable, childish, and given more to imagination than reason or experience. Whimsy indicates a suspension of the rational and predictable. It opens a doorway into another realm, another way of thinking.

In this way, whismy helps my spiritual growth.  It's a whisper of the supernatural.

Whimsy and fantasy—the odd, the seemingly impossible--give spiritual truth a plausibility structure. I want to encourage the type of living where we can believe in what we cannot fully fathom. Whimsy, which makes me stop and reconsider, tears apart the structure of my otherwise orderly and rational day. And in that sliver of space—that wrinkle in time—a life of faith blooms.

So bring on the dogs in raincoats, the dragon umbrellas, the fantastical, and the absurd. We are made for more than we can imagine, and to stop and consider it—the flair of it—ushers in the spiritual.

Whismy lets in the crack of light that pushes me onward to truth. Living with flair means I consider the crack of light. It opens my eyes to another reality--the kind of reality where God tries to get my attention through the out-of-the ordinary thing.  Living with flair means to be attentive enough to see and respond.  


Meg McGinty said...

Escape outlets like fantasy movies and novels are so important to maintain appreciation for in adulthood. I hate when people "grow out" of things! I will always want to fly on Aladdin's carpet and will always want to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy no matter how much my dork-o-meter elevates.

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Janis said...

Whimsey is such an important part of my life. Now that I'm old and need a cane for my "unpredictable moments," nothing would do but a bright purple paisley one. I'm an oldie living with a little bit of flair!