The Imaginary Friend

I have this friend. Want to meet her? She’s really nice. Although she’s a bit shy, and I’m a bit shy, so I won’t tell you her real name. We’ll call her Lucy, after Lucy from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I think she’d like that.

Lucy is one of the few people I’ve met who think in the shapes and patterns as I do. She shares my dreams, my crazy and out-there vision, and she gets it implicitly, without much explanation, when I tell her the deep and secret things of my heart. And because of that I think I’ve told her a lot of things I’ve never told anyone else. I like that. It’s comforting. She lives a long way away, so we usually just chat via email, or on Facebook, but even though she’s a long way away I know she’s there, that she’s there for me, and that sense of “presence” is comforting.

I jokingly refer to her as my “imaginary friend”, partly because she shares the same name as my childhood imaginary friend, and partly because it’s fun to pretend that, because I’ve only met her in person once and because she fills that hole in my life of people-who-think-in-those-strange-shapes-and-patterns-as-I-do-and-share-my-vision, that I’ve just invented her in my head, you know, because I needed someone like her.

And yesterday, quaking over some deep and nameless terror, wiping tears from my cheeks, I emailed her again, and knowing she was there, and that she’d understand, made me feel better. And then I laughed to myself, thinking “she’s a crutch”. I’m just resting a while on my imaginary friend because I need a bit of support. It’s a season. I won’t always need to rely on my imaginary friend. I’ll get over it.

The thing is though, Lucy is real. She’s flesh-and-blood and skin and feeling and thought and life and person. She just lives a long way away.

The things is, too, the big thing that I realised yesterday, that this is how a lot of people see God.

I know I won’t always be in this season, and that’s okay. And it’s okay that I am. And Lucy’s okay with me. But still I choose, and will continue to choose, that at that time in the future when I no longer need Lucy in my life the way that I do now, that we will still be friends, and I will still email her every now and again, even though she lives far away, too far away to see. Because, really, it’s not about a crutch, it’s about relationship.

What about you? Do you have any “imaginary” friends? Do you think God is a crutch, or do you know people who do?


Hearing voices

Do you ever hear voices in your head? People don’t talk about this much. Well, I have a friend that talks about it a fair bit, but she’s on heaps of antipsychotic medication and she runs a support group for people who hear voices that tell them they’re terrible and they need to kill themselves, which I think is positively awful and I’m so glad there’s drugs for that because I love my friend very much and think that HER voices are definitely WRONG.

This, however, is not what I’m talking about.

When I was a kid some people thought I was a bit loopy because I talked to myself all the time. Not like Burger King man in Susie Finkbeiner’s fabulous post the other day (that’s just weird, that is), I never did it like there was someone there next to me to talk to, more like I crawled up inside my head and my memory chatted with the people I imagined there, and sometimes those words leaked out my mouth as well (there weren’t that many people around to talk to when I was younger).

But that’s not what I’m talking about either. And I’m not meaning those strings of words that our thoughts take now that we’re adults and we’re so used to thinking in conversations sometimes our consciousness does it too…in the sense of “Megan you really should put the washing on the line before you go out this morning”. That’s my thinking coming out in conversational thoughts. Gosh our heads are complicated places.

I’m talking about something different. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this. I know I’m not the only one, I have lots of friends who describe the same experience, but we’re friends, and we’re similar in many ways. I don’t know how universal it is.

Maybe it’s just because we listen, or we’ve learned to sort out what’s what in this messy environment known as our heads, or maybe because most of us have young children and crazy lives that we’re used to sorting through the mess really quickly and figuring out what’s what.

I call it the voice of God. Do you ever get that? Do you believe in a God in Heaven who talks to people? I’ll explain a bit better, and see if it translates to you.

I was hanging the clothes on the line one day (yes, probably because my stream-of-consciousness reminded me to do so!) and I was praying, because I DO believe in a God that talks to people, and listens, and because I’d rather talk to a God out there than imaginary people I have to crawl inside my head to find, and I was telling God (or, if you prefer, I was telling the wet washing) all about our financial difficulties, about how I had this crazy dream to go to America, but there was not much money in the bank, not much money coming in and a helluva lot of bills piling up and this stupid mortgage that didn’t change from week to week and sucked us dry. I’m grateful for my house and that we are buying it, but…having no money to buy socks that don’t have more-than-one hole each is hard, and especially hard when it continues for long periods of time.

But that was when I heard it; the voice of God. Or the washing (but I’m not on antipsychotic medication, nor do I think I need to be, so I don’t believe it was that), and it said this:

“I’m going to pay your mortgage off in three years”.

I was stunned into believing, even though there was no way I could see how it would happen. My stream-of-consciousness doesn’t say things like that to me. Neither does my washing. It made me happy, not in a socks-without-more-than-one-hole kind of happy, but a deep, resting, Heaven-touched happy. Do you know what I mean? Does that happen to you?

I wish I’d written down the date that day. I told my husband. It was, I think, a bit under two years ago. And yesterday we saw the tree felled for the building of the new driveway that will not only expand the size of our land, but also has the potential to pay off the rest of our mortgage within a year.

I believe in miracles. I believe in a God who tells me crazy, CRAZY things, and that those crazy dreams can actually come true.

Tell me, do you?

Tree felled for new driveway