Monday, July 25, 2011

Narnia and Hope

Reading Narnia effects my emotions. All good books should do that, of course, in some form or fashion. (That's another good argument for choosing your reads carefully.) Narnia particularly does it to me. Each read through strikes me in new and different ways. The way that C.S. Lewis wove truth in and out of his stories is brilliantly amazing and it catches me off guard time and time again.

As I mentioned, I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to Bookworm1 (age 4 1/2) this past month for the first time. It was a bit difficult reading it outloud because I would find myself so moved by any particular passage that I would have to stop reading and get my emotions in check before I could proceed through the story. He was wondering what was up with mommy! Lewis manages to draw it out of me and I fought back tears the entire read. I already shared one moment that had me all choked up, but I thought I'd share another.

Lucy and Susan have just witnessed the killing of Aslan and are trying to untie him but are unable to do so.

"I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been - if you've been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you - you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing was ever going to happen again. At any rate, that was how it felt to these two. Hours and hours seemed to go by in this dead calm, and they hardly noticed that they were getting colder and colder. But at last Lucy noticed two other things. One was that the sky on the East side of the hill was a little less dark than it had been an hour ago. The other was some tiny movement going on in the grass at her feet. At first she took no interest in this. What did it matter? Nothing mattered now! But at last she saw that whatever-it-was had begun to move up the upright stones of the Stone Table. And now whatever-they-were were moving about on Aslan's body." (Chapter 15, Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time)

Of course, Lucy sees the mice who have come to nibble and gnaw Aslan out of his bonds before the Stone Table cracks and the girl's see Aslan ALIVE again.

Lucy and Susan feel the depths of despair. They feel anguish, loss, loneliness. All hope feels eternally gone. But whether or not they notice at first, or even like it, change begins. The sun rises. Then they notice that good things are happening again. At first, they think that the little change and movement is bad. Birds start singing again. Life is renewed and restored. Life is breathed into everything once again because Aslan is still alive.

For anyone who has felt the searing pain of loss, you will understand and know these feelings. I relate this to the death of Jonathan's mother and then my dad and then his brother - all within quick succession of one another. We well know those tears that disappear into resigned silence. We understand the feeling that says "nothing can ever happen again" - or, at least, you hope it doesn't. You know that nothing can ever be the same again. It is miserable.

Then, whether you think you are ready for it or not, you recognize small signs of change. You might not welcome the movement at first, but it happens with or without your consent. Things go on. The sun comes up and starts to shine. The birds start singing. You acknowledge God is good all of the time and that He makes no mistakes in His perfect sovereignty. You find reasons to rejoice again - enthusiastically and with a full heart. New life is born. New songs are written. Beauty takes over. God makes all things new.

My son will know all of these things for himself one day. He will know heartache - I cannot prevent it for him. I wouldn't want to. Because when things become new and you begin to see God's good plan, you cannot help but thank Him for the pain. As horrible as it may sound at times - you cannot help but say thank you and sigh with relief because you learn to recognize that Aslan really is on the move. The only thing I can and want to do for my son is to teach him the truth that God really is good and faithful and true. God is always working for our benefit and for His glory. If my son learns these things, then no matter what heartache he encounters in his life he can rest assured that God is always victorious and so we also are.

"And now," said Aslan presently, "to business. I feel I am going to roar. You had better put your fingers in your ears."

And I watch as the cold winter melts into spring
And I'll be remembering You
Oh and I'll smell the flowers and hear the birds sing
and I'll be remembering You, I'll be remembering You

The dark night, the hard fight
The long climb up the hill knowing the cost
The brave death, the last breathe
The silence whispering all hope was lost
The thunder, the wonder
A power that brings the dead back to life


Barbara H. said...


Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

They felt the dark before the dawn, as we all do at one time or another. I love this post!

I especially love Aslan's words: "And now, to business."

Bluerose said...

"...depths of despair.." :)

That's one of my favorite parts of far! I can't help but think of Anne anytime I see that line.

This is just a beautiful post, though!!

Stephanie Kay said...

I agree with everyone else, beautiful and thoughtful.

Elisabeth said...

This post moved me. Sometimes I still feel like nothing will ever be completely good again. Even when I'm happy I'm terrified of losing people I love and joy turns to sadness. I suppose it's just a reminder of sin and death.

Janet said...

So moving and so true. Thank you for this post.

Shonya said...

Ahhh, beautiful! I've been out of town and got behind, but just had to say I appreciated this post. And it reminds me that sometimes we need to go through the times of despair in order to appreciate hope. . .too easily "good things" can seem to overshadow even the need for hope when we get too settled in this life. Wish it was easier to remember that in times of despair, huh?!

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