When I was in my early elementary years, on a pretty day, or any day to get me out of her hair, my mom would send me outside to play. Our back yard was fenced in and very woody. There was a small patch of a somewhat grassy hill but the rest was called a “natural area”. But really it was woods. We had my dad’s heavy, army green tent he used when he was younger, a small sand box, and a metal swing set with a couple of swings, a trapeze and a slide that my sister and I played on often.
But when I got tired of playing on those, I went to a certain tree in our back yard. That’s where Dee-Dee lived. I know, it’s a funny name but Dee-Dee was my imaginary friend. When I was even younger he lived behind the refrigerator. When I became a little older and my parents would send me outside to play on my own, Dee-Dee moved outside and lived by a big tree in our backyard. I honestly don’t recall what he looked like, but I believed he was someone. He was someone I talked to, read books to him, sang him a song, and even walked through the woods with me. There was a trail that started in our next door neighbors’ backyard that led through the back yards of many other neighbors’ yards in our neighborhood. I’d take my sketch book to the tree and draw pictures and even write short stories with Dee-Dee being one of the characters.
I believed he was with me, for me, always there for me when I needed him. I’d go talk to him when I wanted to get away from my younger sister who was irritating me (but of course not now!). I’d run out there when I wanted to be alone. I’d run out there to talk to Dee-Dee when I had my creative juices flowing, or wanted to get away for the worries of a six year old’s world.
I had many conversations with Dee-Dee as if he was really sitting right there beside me. He was invisible because he was imaginary, but that’s how children grow. It’s a simple way to grow and instill faith and belief in things unseen. It’s a time to dream and explore.
Was it something God used as a way to practice praying? Doesn’t God want us to do that? Maybe that was God in disguise I was talking with behind the refrigerator and by the tree.
Just as Dee-Dee was unseen, so is God. I knew he was there. The difference now is that God is not imaginary even though He’s an unseen God. He is real. He is alive. He is present. He tells us to have faith like a child.
Did you have an imaginary friend? A superhero, princess, or someone just like you? May we all have faith like a child.