Imagination is the source of your purpose. Let your imagination set you free.
My first Latin teacher was ancient. She was a year away from retirement and had based her career on one objective: conjugate verbs. The classroom was hot and quiet and mind-numbingly dull
In my second year, it was Mr. Pearsall. It was the mid-nineties, and Mr. Pearsall was that decade’s poster boy. He wore pleated pants, striped shirts with a tie, and wire-rimmed round glasses. He was young, a first-year teacher, incredibly smart, and approached Latin in a new way. We still conjugated verbs and translated ancient text, but we also learned about ancient Greek and Roman culture. We had toga parties and read Dante’s Inferno. We learned about gladiators and Greek Myths. I looked forward to every class.
Mr. Pearsall assigned us a project. We could choose to recreate a model of the Via Appia or the Roman aqueducts, we could make a diorama of the Agora, or we could write a modernized, four-paged version of a Greek Myth. I chose the latter.
As part of my project, I would also have to read my creation aloud to the class.
I remember the story of a young kid named Aeneas traveling to New York City. His father, kidnapped by a league of assassins who have taken on Greek Gods’ traits, must be found. Apollo uses a bow and arrow to kill his targets; another uses throwing knives in the shape of lightning bolts, like Zeus. Instead of traveling to the Underworld, he goes to an abandoned subway tunnel. Sisyphus does not roll a boulder up a hill; he’s a homeless man who tries in vain to get the dents out of a soda can. Tantalus scrounges for cigarette butts but has no lighter etc.
The Muse flowed through me that night in the green glow of my giant laptop, for, in the end, my story was twelve pages of action-packed text, not four.
So, to the front of the class, I went. I perched myself on a rickety stool and began reading. It was so long that as I reached the climax of the story, the bell rang. Just as it did, I heard a gasp. Talia, the cute sophomore in the front row, stared at me wide-eyed. “No!” she yelled, “I wanted to hear the end!”
I looked up, dumbfounded. Mr. Pearsall was grinning, “Obviously, an A,” he stated. Even the introverted heavy-metal kid in the back nodded approval.
Folks, this was magic.
Never in my life did I realize I had the power to bring out emotion in others purely through my imagination. I am, by no means, a great writer; still, something in that moment captured the hearts and minds of my Latin class.
I love telling that story. I feel it has power to it. We go through reality, wondering what lies ahead. We get caught up in the minutiae and mundane, yet I think we all search and seek for something else.
We wait and look for answers when maybe we should imagine them. What reality can we imagine for ourselves? What talents do we possess to realize that conjuring?
If, like me, you seek your purpose, go within, and let your imagination set you free.
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