The setting was beautiful, a summer wedding in Maine. I stood shoulder to shoulder with my husband, Adam, and a young groomsman. Warm light from the rustic old barn poured through large open doors, gently illuminating two rows of guests lining the path to the sweeping pasture below. The sun had slipped past the horizon. The night was falling. Love, joy, and laughter filled the air.
Every guest was handed an enormous sparkler and given very specific instructions to light sparklers down the line, side by side. We were asked to not light sparklers held by those standing across the way. The instructions seemed simple enough. But alas, the young groomsman to my left eagerly broke the plane to assist a friend across the path with a spark and a smile. Under my breath, I whispered, “Don’t cross the streams.” As the sparklers lit at a rapid pace and the fiery spectacle burst to life all around me, I found myself channeling my inner Egon, yelling out, “Don’t cross the streams!”
The moments that followed were filled with a buzz of energy, photos, video, a beaming bride, a euphoric groom, creativity, and fun, lots and lots of fun. But then the young groomsman looked at me inquisitively and asked what the heck I was talking about. “What’s up with not crossing the streams?” He picked up on my inference but hadn’t a clue as to what I was talking about. This spry young man, no older than his early 20’s, told me he’d never seen Ghostbusters, or Back to the Future, or The Goonies. He sees no need. He watches all of his videos on YouTube.
Now, I enjoy YouTube as much as the next person, of course. But it crushed my soul just a skosh to learn that this young adult was totally deprived of three of the most imaginative and formative movies of my creative childhood.
Knowing the risk inherent with crossing the streams of a proton pack, unearthing the bones and treasured doubloon of Chester Copperpot, or thieving away plutonium to fuel your flux capacitor–this is the stuff learned from iconic childhood tales. The fortunate, in my humble opinion, carry these movies with us into adulthood. After all, the creative genius of Spielberg, Zemeckis, Gale, Aykroyd, and Ramis brought each and every one of us the gift and ability to wonder, “What if?”
I asked the young groomsman if he would please take it upon himself to watch the three movies. He had nothing to lose and a deeper connection with his imagination to gain.
That night, with gigantic sparklers in our hands, we crossed the streams. As it turned out, Egon wasn’t spot-on after all. By crossing the line into the unknown, the world as we know it did not come crashing down around us. When we dare to tap our creativity, when we take a chance and cross the streams, we unlock the potential of our imaginations.
So I urge you, cross the streams.