When Imagination is a Bad Thing

From the time we are little kids, we are encouraged to use our imaginations.  My imagination has always been strong.  It’s how I managed to get all my Barbies to communicate with each other.  It’s how I knew what to do when I got to be the teacher when we played school.  It’s how I created songs to entertain my family.  It’s how I managed to write poetry and short stories.  Imagination in other people will be what solves the problems in this world.  Imagination brings about creative problem solving and innovation. But I have decided that sometimes imagination is a bad thing.

I first started to suspect this last year when two of my daughter’s classmates died within a week of each other.  One student, Mitch, died in a kayaking accident on Lake Michigan.  The other student, Allison, dies of a previously undetected heart defect.  Allison was also a former student of mine.  I had a really, really difficult time dealing with the deaths of these two kids.  One reason it was so difficult was because my imagination kept taking over every time I let my mind think about them.  I kept imagining Mitch out on Lake Michigan.  I kept imagining Allison collapsing.  I kept imagining the phone calls the mothers of these children received.  And all that imagining made me feel absolutely panic-stricken.  I could feel a huge pit in my stomach.  I could feel my heart quicken in fear.  All I could do was imagine these terrible circumstances for these kids and their parents.

Today I think I have confirmed that imagination isn’t always a good thing.  This morning, I learned that a former student who is now a freshman in high school was killed in a car accident last night.  At first, I felt sad about it and I was concerned for the students at my school who might have known her (her name was Liz). Then the imagining started this afternoon.  I keep thinking about Liz in the car and the phone call her mother had to take.  As I was walking out of school today, I paused for a moment because I was imagining her in the halls of the school where she was just a short year ago.

Imagining makes you feel things you don’t ever want to feel.  And I know that those things I feel through imaging are not even remotely close to what it feels like in reality.  I don’t pretend to imagine what the parents of Mitch, Allison, or Liz actually felt or feel.  But I imagine it, and the imagination is torturous.

The imagination that helped me as a child is hurting me now as an adult.  And I don’t know how to stop imagining.

If you want, you can read the obituaries for Mitch and Allison, and you can read an article about Liz.

About renbog

I have opinions and I have passions and I like to write.
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