Why do we imagine, why do we create, and why do we dream if we are not desperately longing for something beyond ourselves?
I’ve been thinking about the song called “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by The Smashing Pumpkins. Lead singer Billy Corgan screams words of desperation through the driving music, reflecting doubt, fear, heartache, and the reality of pain. He begins by saying, “The world is a vampire, sent to drain.” The lyrics are drenched in doubt, particularly at the end where Corgan says, “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage…I still believe that I cannot be saved”. But despite the intense despair and anger, there is a glimmer of hope when he says, “I want to change / And what have you got, when you feel the same?” What if, despite the flawed conclusion, the song “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” was Corgan’s cry for hope and for God to show up? What if this song directs us to the soul’s absence of and longing for God?
The longer I breathe, the more I am convinced that human creativity is the expression of the soul seeking answers to life’s deepest questions about hope, meaning, and ultimately, God. Without the soul sensing an incredible absence there would be no pain. Without the soul’s yearning for God, there would be no desperation resulting from His apparent absence.
I’ve always been intrigued by artists, particularly musicians, who scream with hate and bitterness at a God they claim to be a fantasy. Why so much anger towards an imaginary phantom? Why not shout rage towards the elements, towards earthquakes, towards the earth’s decay, and towards the evolutionary cycle? Is it possible that each utterance of rage is actually a scream crying out for a seemingly distant, yet incredibly close God?
Imagination has always been instrumental in the creation of vast empires, every artistic masterpiece, and every dream within all of humanity. Unfortunately, imagination has also played a role in the atrocities of humanity throughout history, leaving the world broken, fragmented, and in decay. Imagination asks questions about what has yet to be experienced, what is not yet known, and what could be. In the aftermath of imagination, we create works of art, whether beautiful or hideous.
All of human creativity originates in the eternal longings of the soul, whether expressing itself in earnest hope or deep despair. We will never find creativity apart from these longings because they are essential in the world of human imagination. No one imagines the future without a longing that reaches beyond what is presently known.
Why dream of a better tomorrow if our souls aren’t yearning what is beyond today?
If the human spirit doesn’t long for healing, why does it constantly remind us of the pain?
Hope is very real and I am living proof of its reality. God created a work of art called space, painted a canvas called life, and gave me an identity called “His own”. Even in the midst of the lifeless creations of this vampire world, God is creating beauty from what was once broken, He is painting light in the darkness of despair, and He is breathing life into what was formerly dead.
Here’s an incomprehensible thought to digest: what if you are an artistic masterpiece designed in the imagination of the ultimate Creative Being? What if you are alive today because your life is a story that God desperately wanted to write? And what if your life, your journey, and your destination are infinitely more important to God than you will ever know?
Each day we awake to a canvas where we can either create life or death, hope or despair, dreams or fears. Every moment we breathe is an opportunity to shine light into darkness, to speak hope into the broken, and to give love to the hurting souls gasping for air in the margins of a vampire world.
Today we are invited to imagine. Today we are invited to dream. Today we are invited to create that which is unknown.
You are alive, your are a beautiful work of art, and your Creator loves you beyond your feeble understanding…He imagined you, He created you, and your life is a story only you can tell.