I once got to meet Theodor Seuss Geisel — you know, Dr. Seuss. I was so excited. “Green Eggs and Ham” was one of the first books I learned to read. A half-century later, I can still recite parts of it off the top of my head.
What I most remember was how quiet and almost shy he appeared. For a celebrated author, he made few public appearances. During our brief encounter, I would have never guessed what sort of flu floopers were darting around his brain.
Thank goodness he provided a peephole so we could look inside and see them!
Geisel, whose birthday is March 2, invited us to visit the Who-ville in his head. He showed us cats in hats. Allowed us to taste green eggs and ham. Told stories about what it’s like to have our hearts grow three sizes that day.
From him, I learned an early lesson in how creative people help us to look at things differently. To imagine more than just what we see with untrained eyes. To experience life in ways we might miss on our own.
And it’s not only people who write books and music or paint happy little trees that take us to new places. We all have many creative talents, whether it‘s with words and paint, music and dance, numbers and machines, careers and relationships. Our creativity gives us the means to solve problems, make peace, love people. We can create laughter and joy. Our healing touch can be re-creative.
We just have to try.
There are times when we like creativity about as much as the Grinch likes Christmas — which is to say, we do not like it, not at all. We prefer old ways to anything new. Creativity? Too messy, too challenging, too uncertain.
We don’t want any Flu Floopers or Who Hoovers or Gar Ginkers or Slu Slumkers making such noise, noise, noise in our lives. Besides, who knows where we’ll end up if we unchain our individual and collective creativity? We might wind up thinking differently and seeing differently and living differently.
We might even — gasp! — end up eating green eggs and ham. With a goat. On a boat. In the rain. On a train. In a box. With a fox. In a house. With a mouse. Here and there and anywhere.
Uh-uh. Not for us. We would not, could not. We do not like green eggs and ham.
Isn’t this so true in so many areas of our lives? We decide we don’t like things that we’ve never tried. We insist on thinking of things in only one way. We resist change. We deem creativity dangerous.
We ignore that Sam-I-am.
This especially holds true in many of our collective endeavors, including politics and religion. Especially religion. And that’s quite odd, isn’t it? After all, we get our creativity from I-Am-Who-Am. Using our creativity is one of the significant ways we experience an utterly creative creator. It’s how we Am.
I’m grateful to Dr. Seuss and those who to use their creativity to show us different ways of thinking and living. They remind us that changing the world starts with the creative imagination in all of us.
To borrow one of his lines: “Oh, the things you can find if you don’t stay behind!“