Everyday Storytelling: On the Wings of Imagination
I invited the kids to create story booklets from scratch. All we need is plain paper, colored sewing treads, crayons and stickers. Oh, and the capacity to fly on the wings of imagination.
Renna is sitting next to me in the oversized wheelchair. She is very quiet. Even the sobbing that erupts in her when the nurse replaces the infusion is very quiet. Then she stops sobbing. The nurse returns to the ward, and Renna continues to pick colored stickers. Renna speaks to me with very gentle nods, and I listen attentively. Yes, she loves the unicorn stickers. I show her another colored page and she remains quiet, not nodding, but also not shaking her head from side to side saying “no”. Verbal and physical silence often mean “no”. I know that.
Dov is not quiet at all. He movers around the room and chats with his mother in Yiddish. He shows great interest in stickers of vehicles, pirates and numbers. He creates a whole fleet of vehicles on a single page.
Rasha joins us. Her right hand is in a brace after a very complex operation, so I sew her sticker booklet for her. Renna’s dad teaches me a new sewing method, in the shape of a spiral. It gives the homemade booklets we are making a very dignified look.
He happily volunteers to help sew Rasha’s booklet while I continue to help his daughter place the stickers in her booklet. She carefully plans the layout of the stickers on the page. I ask where to paste and she guides me with gentle head movements.
I converse with Rasha in Arabrew, a mix of Arabic and Hebrew. I feel a little silly, but Rasha is kind and generous. So we communicate like that, in a jumble of languages and silences.
Renna, Rasha and Dov create stories that carry them to another world, outside the hospital. A world they can reach carried on the wings of unicorns, or a plane, or a path made of stars and hearts. A world created by their ability to imagine it.
In a few days Renna, Dov and Rasha will be released from the hospital and return home. I hope that in a few weeks, months, or years the stay in the hospital will become a distant memory. But I hope they continue to hold on to the ability to imagine a better and kinder world.
And I hope, for their sake and ours, that we, the adults, will remember how critical it is to fly on the wings of imagination. To create a better and kinder world.