"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis


Monday, November 21, 2011

The world of a dreamer

There is part of the world that is horrible and dark, but if you can look under that veil of blackness, it reveals a world of such utter beauty that, when you see it, you wonder if you have stepped into a fairy tale. Can life really be so full of joy?

People say, I don’t know what I want to do or be with my life. But you must! I know you feel—I know you love! Does this not tell you where you belong? What makes your heart sing and make you want to dance, and make you stop and stare at the world in wonder because it is just so wonderful and so glorious and so beautiful? Have you ever thought that maybe—just maybe—that is what you were meant to do?

That is such a hard concept for so many that I have talked to. I wonder if we have forgotten what it is to love life. We are so used to living so-so, to not following our glory, to thinking that being joyful and doing what we absolutely love is wrong, somehow. It could be, many times. Sometimes, you make choices that sets your life in a different direction. And that is okay. You did not fail. You just changed directions for now. Sometimes, you need to sacrifice.

But sometimes, you live—you live as you were meant to live—you live as you were created to live, before sin, before pain.

Maybe it doesn’t look like a specific job or major or task.Maybe it doesn’t look like anything the world has ever seen. All you know is that that vision—that place to where the world has not yet gone—you sense within your soul. You sometimes think of giving it up because you don’t know how to get there, but you never do, never quite, because that is the place where you are most full of glory, where your heart explodes with pure happiness and gratefulness at simply being allowed to live, where you feel maia, where you most reflect holiness.

I suppose this may be naïve. Perhaps some will read this and smile and shake their heads and say, that young girl, that silly girl, she has not yet been crushed by life. Someday she will understand how hard and how dark life is.

It is hard. It is dark. I know it is. But because it is so hard and it is so dark, that makes the glorious brightness underneath stand out all the more.

And yet, perhaps I still take it too far. But I cannot deny the excitement I feel about life; I cannot deny that I feel like I live in a fairy tale where magic is real and dreams do come true. Maybe it is all right that I have not yet been crushed and my dreams have not yet been shattered. Maybe, sometimes, the world needs the naïve. And maybe, sometimes, the world needs dreamers.

"No. I suppose that other world must be all a dream," [said Jill.]

"Yes. It is all a dream," said the Witch, always thrumming…

Puddleglum was still fighting hard. "I don't know rightly what you all mean by a world," he said, talking like a man who hasn't enough air. "But you can play that fiddle till your fingers drop off, and still you won't make me forget Narnia; and the whole Overworld too. We'll never see it again, I shouldn't wonder. You may have blotted it out and turned it dark like this, for all I know. Nothing more likely.
"But I know I was there once. I've seen the sky full of stars. I've seen the sun coming up out of the sea of a morning and sinking behind the mountains at night. And I've seen him up in the midday sky when I couldn't look at him for brightness..."

The Witch shook her head… "Come, all of you. Put away these childish tricks. I have work for you all in the real world. There is no Narnia, no Overworld, no sky, no sun, no Aslan. And now, to bed all. And let us begin a wiser life tomorrow..."

"One word, Ma'am," Puddleglum said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one.
"And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a playworld which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia."
~C.S. Lewis (The Silver Chair)

The wind on my face

You would think I am on caffeine. I’m entertaining when I’m on caffeine. I get just purely sparklingly happy and start thinking about how the sun is so wonderful and the grass is so wonderful and buildings and houses and people and schoolwork and learning and ladybugs and horses and sunshine and chocolate and music and everything in life—absolutely everything—is so amazingly wonderful—so wonderful I just walk around with a smile on my face.

And then I start wondering why I am feeling so odd, and I remember that an hour ago I had coffee.

But right now, I’m not on coffee. It’s just one of those times when I look around me, and I close my eyes and breathe in, and I absolutely cannot believe how incredible life is. It’s not that I have everything I could ever want—or that there is nothing troubling me—or that there is no pain in my life—but that beyond those light afflictions there is such glory and beauty and joy such that I have only barely even tasted.

But it’s there, it’s real, it’s the reality behind every storybook and every fairy tale. Where do we get the ideas for those places, those lands, those adventures? It can’t just come within us, it must be rooted in reality, and we are searching for it with every breath we take. And we find it in our world, though dimly, though one day those who have lived in Christ’s glory will see it face to face.

Just because it is dimmer than it will one day be doesn’t mean it is dim. It is not just some sort of theoretical glory or joy. It is pure, absolute, glorious happiness. It is letting yourself laugh as hard as you can about jokes that make absolutely no sense and sing at the top of your lungs to The Lion King songs and dance around the room at the same time just because you can and eat three desserts in one night because you want to and have walking races with total strangers and talk to the birds who are screaming at you and because you just let life be so much fun.

It is looking at pictures of the most beautiful sunset, and knowing, that is real, I experienced that. And it is imagining riding my horse and realizing, that unbelievable power—that is real, that is part of life as I know it. And it is thinking of love, unimaginable self-sacrificing love, and understanding, that is as real as the wind on my face.