"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


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You don't have to live forever; you just have to live

There is so much of the weight of glory I never even try to verbalize, because it's so, incredibly... everything. It's your whole soul, being, emotions, in this huge vibrant prism of light and color and music, and how do you explain any of that? You can't, quite, so I feel like the prophets of Ezekiel or Revelation who call the glory a sunset, no, a fire, no, a rainbow, no, rushing water, and finally, they just stop trying.

In some ways, you can only feel it; this is where words fail, because, after all, words are not the deepest form of communication. When you try to use them, you just end up stopping and looking at the ground and mumbling, "never mind." Instead of stopping, however, I write: writing forces me to not push away the feeling simply because I cannot describe it. Once, I began here, with “maia.”

You can explain the weight of glory with words like beauty, longing, transcendence, joy, but sometimes that is not enough, and you have to use music and play a track from Lord of the Rings or perhaps use an image of a sunset or a prairie under a thunderstorm, and then that falls short and you turn to story and end up saying something like, "I want to live in Narnia,” and then that sounds fake and childish so you don't say it, and besides, everyone says that, but you mean so much more—it’s not just, I want Narnia or to be Clara Barton, Eowyn, Trinity, Joan of Arc, Queen Susan, but... my soul is there. You are that person—that king or that queen, that warrior or that shieldmaiden—somehow, and you wonder... how did I get here? Like "Hannah" is just a shell of someone who could've, should've, needs to be in that life and adventure and beauty and glory.... Like you're living some sort of dream and are trying to wake up.

You want to fight and be beautiful and be rescued and die in the process, you want to not be safe and you want to look right into people's souls, and the word "adventure" doesn't just mean adventure to you... it means, pure life, the life you always longed to live. Is it not the sort of life that stabs you when you watch a sunset on the beach or listen to a beautiful piece of music or go to your best friend's funeral or talk about Narnia or sit by a fire all alone or get up at 4am to watch the sunrise or what you imagine it might be to fall in love?"

Your absolute greatest fear is dying without having lived.

Yet, that is not the end of the story. There is something greater, a kingdom of miracles, power, rescue, and beauty, where further up and further in takes you only deeper into the adventure you long for.

I've found it now, the weight of glory, or at least, a taste, so otherworldly as to be from my cherished fairy tales and so real as to be the buttered toast I had for breakfast.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The terrible pain of the kingdom of God

It’s the longing that hurts the most, the beauty so intense it will claw your soul to shreds—or perhaps, make it whole.

We all feel this pain at some point. In horses, I am torn by it most in story—in Shadowfax, Flicka, the Black Stallion. In reading about Tsornin and Bree and Hwin. The longing for that beauty, to be caught up in its transcendence, to reach that place entirely beyond words is so deep for a time I thought of leaving horses entirely: the desire for it was so strong if it couldn’t be fulfilled, I wasn’t sure I could stand it.

It’s odd, you know—a beauty, a longing, a glory, a transcendence so great that it may drive you away as much as it draws you in. I am glad the Lord made it that way, because pain—the grief of having lost something we can’t remember having, of searching for the story we were supposed to live and trying to wake up from the dream in which we seem to be trapped—the pain is sometimes more transformative than the joy.

If you’ve ever felt it, you know what I mean; some of you have, with horses, with why you sought them in the first place. It’s to touch magic with horses. Some feel the beauty, the longing, the touch of the divine in other places: my dad knows it in flying, one of my friends in playing flute. Another is gripped by its power in writing and another in filmmaking. They all agree—it’s the same no matter where in the kingdom you are—the same blinding pain with incredible longing, the insatiable desire for the beauty always just beyond your fingertips, the vision of the way the world was meant to be and the life you always longed to live. The transformative power that drives you straight to the face of God.

That is the kingdom of God, after all.