I wonder how many of us had a rich fantasy life. I never thought much about that until recently. I had a vivid imagination and put myself in every kind of troubled, problematic situation and always, always came out victorious.
As a child that fantasizing probably “saved” my life. I learned to pretend, to imagine a happy life where everything was fine. During intense periods of pain, I discovered solace in my fantasy world. In school, I was skinny. Short. Not athletic. One of the two or three kids the captains argued over. “You take him this time. I got stuck with him for the last game.”
My late friend Steve Grubman told me that he invented an imaginary friend who was there for him in those painful times. That was how he coped.
Many of us received temporary peace through our imagination or pretense. And we can look back and be thankful that we could face some of our problems, even if they were only in our imagination.
As I thought about fantasy, I remembered the verses from the famous love chapter of 1 Corinthians. The Apostle Paul said that when he was a child he thought and behaved as a child, but after he became an adult, he pushed those things out of his mind.
I still have fantasies, but I’ve noticed in the last 10 years they’re far more benign and rather fun. I focus on events or experiences when I relive a situation and think of what I might have said to make me smug. But I don’t need them any more to escape an impoverished, stolen childhood.