Sherlock Holmes And A Windy Night In My Town

One of the aspects of living in the mountains of North Carolina that you learn to live with is the wind. We are at an elevation of about 3,000 feet above sea level here and when the wind blows, as it seems to after every shift in the wheather, it can really chill the air around you.

My biker friends will tell you that if you can’t deal with a little wind (and sometimes a lot) you’ll never make it as a biker in the mountains.

It is also very hard to keep your house warm when the wind is really kicking it up outside. Though I can’t feel a breeze in our house, the temperature always drops when the wind blows for hours on end. It also seems like every leaf in our county finds its way to my back door and piles itself upon all the other leaves that the wind deposits there. It is quite a chore to even close the door without getting a pile of them into the basement.

Speaking of real wind is like speaking of that imaginary wind that blows us into cleaning up our office spaces from time to time. I don’t know what comes over me, but ocassionally I decide that I can’t really get any work done until the space around me is tidied up. And when I clean out my office drawers I always run into something interesting.

The other day I found several father’s day cards that I must have stashed away lo those many years ago when I was, dare I say, cleaning up my office. I found pictures of my kids at young ages and pictures that they had made me to hang on my walls when I had space on my walls to hand stuff. That’s been years ago.

In one of the drawers I emptied the other day I found a little piece of paper obviously cut from a magazine of some kind. On it was written this statement: “To be succcessful, the scenes from your imagination must be convincing enough for a viewer to willingly suspend his disbelief.”

My job background for the past several years has been catalog production, marketing and ad design. So it figures I cut this out of some business type publication and thought it valuable enough to not throw away. It was nicely trimed and had holes in the corners as if I had at one point pinned it to a bulletin board of some kind.

What I first read into it as I read it again after finding it in one of my drawers was that a good writer must be able to take his reader into his imagination and not get him or her lost in the process. A writer must create clear paths from one place to the next in order that the reader can follow the thought process.

I remember as a kid reading the tales of Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle was such a good writer that I could almost picture myself walking beside him (Holmes) as he traveled about London solvling mysteries. No detail was to small for Doyle to write about what Holmes observed. I guess that was the whole point—Holmes saw many different levels of reality during a single glance at glass that had been broken during a robbery or murder or whatever case he was asked to solve.

When I got older I even remember walking into a pipe shop and asking the man behind the counter to sell me some of the tobcacco that Sherlock Holmes must have smoked. It was a very strong blend with lots of dark tobacco that burned with a very pungent smell. He was amused at my request but took care of me as he would any other customer with an unusual request—those certainly were the days.

Back to the piece of paper I found in my desk drawer. I am almost certain it came from a marketing magazine—and centered around writing copy for products on sale in a catalog or other mailing piece. To this end, we can all see where advertising has taken us.

Advertising has evolved to the point where we now have the Geico ad with the cavemen who get offended at the statement that something is so easy that “…even a caveman could do it.”

It certainly got my attention and I guess that is the whole point. We are constantly being bombarded with ads asking us to try this product or that—and when they all begin to run together, someone has to come up with something different enough to capture our gaze—if even for a moment.

I will have to admit I was much more comfortable with the car commercials that had beautiful women hanging off them. I fully understood how absurb they were—equating a car purchase with success and virility. I can honestly say that I never bought a car after seeing one of those ads—but you can’t deny the cultural importance attached to the make and model of the car you choose to drive.

As a Christian, we are asked to go a little deeper into what motivates us to purchase and participate in the world’s system. Not that we always do things for all the right reasons or never buy something we could more than likely live without. Saint Paul told us that there are pressures from within and pressures from without.

Have I lost my way here? Maybe not.

I guess one of the thoughts stirred up when reading that little piece of paper found in my desk drawer was not about writing at all but about imagination.

Scripture tells us that as a man thinks in his heart so he is. And that our God is able to do things even more miraculous than we can imagine. That there is a purpose to our lives and that His purpose towards us is to prosper us and make our paths straight in a world prone to crookedness.

Before an inventor can create something out of nothing, he has to see it in his mind’s eye. Before God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, He must have had something in mind for us as well.

Did He know that I would grow up and play the guitar and have acceptance issues—that I would have a great family and enjoy gardening and poetry amonst all the other ten thousand parts and pieces that make up my life from birth until now. At some level I believe He did. He said He knew the plans that He had for me—but that is a hard one to get your head around.

What I am currently seeing about imagination is this: when we see the potential for something greater, to live at a higher level than where we are at—a light comes on and a part of the pathway to that place is illuminated. On the way there, we will fail to live up to the very ideal or goal that has sparked our imagination.

If the goal was to bless with our words, we will fail the very next day to be encourageing just when it counts the most—with someone you love. This doesn’t mean the path was wrong or that we failed—it just means that we need to press on toward the goal of what we first saw—bearing in mind that the enemy of our souls doesn’t want us to be successful in our journey.

My prayer today is that our imaginations would explode with all the God ideas that we have hidden in us—the ones we have glimpsed in the past and the ones that are slowly beginning to materialize. And that we would not let the enemies tricks keep us from eating from the tree of life.

We are ministers of reconciliation between God and a fallen world. Lets be about that business today in ways that excite and energize—ways that encourgage and build up. That sounds to me like a ride worth taking.

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