Live like a Narnian (even if there isn’t any Narnia)

puddleglum (1)My kids and I have recently read through C.S. Lewis’ timeless Chronicles of Narnia, beginning with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We are currently reading The Silver Chair, the second to last novel. Just last night, we read as the serpent-witch attempted to enchant the children, the marshwiggle Puddleglum, and Prince Rilian — to trick them into believing that Narnia, the sun and Aslan were all just a dream, and that the only reality is the cold, hopeless, pitch black underworld where they currently reside. She very nearly succeeds, and might have if it had not been for Puddleglum, who says:

Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all these 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 play-world which licks your real world hollow.

While I find that there is so much good in our world, there are also times that it seems to be a black pit of darkness too. I am able to conceive of a much better, brighter world — but in so many ways it seems impossible that while humans walk the planet, wars will ever truly cease, that no child will starve or go homeless and unloved, that our environment will not continue to be poisoned, that people will not exploit each other and so on.

Is it just a hollow, empty, hopeless dream I have that things will be better? That this is NOT all that there is? It’s certainly not just my dream. I believe we all share it. Most of us know love when we see or experience it. We recognise injustice. Literature is full of stories that describe real, devoted, sacrificial love, and the struggle of humanity against injustice. From whence does this common dream come? Which is the true reality in our universe, and which is the dream?

I believe that, like Scrubb, Jill, Prince Rilian and Puddleglum, we are in many ways temporarily asleep, dreaming, and lost in the darkness. It’s easy to conclude that all there is is what we can physically see and touch — and that the darker sides of the human experience — loss, death, heartbreak — triumph despite our struggles against them.

Yet the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are constantly whispering to us — reminding us of what I believe we all know deep down — that these things will never triumph. That all battles have been won. There has already been a final end to war, disease, heartbreak, even death. We remain asleep to that reality, but  it exists nonetheless. It is the true reality, and ours is the dream.

Puddleglum concludes:

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 like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia…We’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland…

Like Puddleglum, I intend to live my life with the full assurance that there is better — infinitely better — life to come for all of us, and that Father, Son and Spirit have included us all there. My eyes will remain firmly fixed on the horizon, but also on what is directly underneath my feet. Because Jesus hasn’t left us here to dream a dark dream alone. He has joined us right here, exactly where and as we are. Glimpses of him can be found absolutely everywhere in our world. For those of us still walking planet Earth, the fullness is just yet to come.

~ Jeannine Buntrock

3 comments so far

  1. Alexandra on

    Jeannine: You write beautifully and what you’re writing about, to me anyway, is about hanging on to faith, hope, love when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Keep up the fight sweetheart…your little ones are depending on it!!!

  2. Don on

    That was so well written Jeannine. I will remember that with my work at the hospice center. So many there are clinging to a better world while they are in what seems like a dark pit. Thanks! Dad

  3. Boyd Merriman on

    I have to keep praying that God will help me see the Real world (God’s world) rather than my own world. I ask God to help us see His kingdom right now, not just pray “thy kingdom come sometime in the future”. If Jesus is my King, now, in my heart, life and soul, then I must be his subject in his kingdom, therefore, I am already in God’s kingdom now. I just need to see it every day.

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