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Deep Into the Land of Narnia

November 30, 2008

Today is the first big snowfall of the year. I walked out of church this morning and BOOM — it was a wet, wet winter wonderland.

Perhaps it stems back to my childhood days, but snow like this, the big, fluffy kind like ice being chipped off a giant block, always makes me think of Narnia. And what irony that when I arrived home, my sister was playing “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” while cleaning.

Like many children over the years, I grew up reading CS Lewis’s beloved “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. And when I say “read,” I mean more than seeing words on a page. I ate the magic of it whole, like some delicious and almost forbidden treat. (It had to be secret in some way, it was far too good to be public.) It was better than I could have imagined. I will always maintain my hope that Heaven will someday be just like Narnia — a place wrought with landscape so beautiful that it feels like a dream, a place where you might run forever and never grow faint. I think it was those books that first awoke me to the love of reading. And I’ve never recovered.

As I watch the snow fall, I remember winters spent playing in the backyard of my house. I’d bundle up like a little sausage and head outside, with a sense of tingling delight. I’d hide under tree branches, pretending that I too was traveling with the Beavers and needed to keep safe from the White Witch. Or perhaps I was with Prince Caspian and was searching for the creatures of old. I must have looked for Narnia in every nook and cranny of my backyard and my house. (Whether this was a sincere hope that I would find a portal or just an imaginary game, I don’t recall. Probably a little of both.) Sometimes, my mother would be cleaning and when she’d open the door under the sink, instead of finding the can of Comet she was looking for, she’d find me, wedged under the sink in a ball.

“What are you doing?”
“Looking for Narnia.” 

Bless her heart, she accepted this as normal and allowed me to dwell undisturbed in the happy corners of my imagination. Whether this made me a slightly introverted nerd or simply a creative person, it changed me somehow. Truly good literature does that to a person.

Even tonight, as I will walk outside to my car for the Advent service that Mars Hill is holding, I will still secretly feel the magic of Narnia in each flake of snow. I will smell the woodsmoke of the Beavers’ dam and feel the tingle of the enchanted winter in my very skin. I will taste the miracle of other-ness in the air. And I will smile, knowing that in some way, it is undeniably real.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Noelle permalink
    November 30, 2008 5:43 pm

    Matt recently brought home this large and lovely shiny red chest which he put in his room.
    Upon finding it, I immediately opened the lid and began peering inside of it. Matt entered his room:
    “What are you looking for noelle?”
    “I thought maybe I would find Narnia inside.”

    And I’m 22! Still looking for my portal to Aslan.

    C.S Lewis is the only person so far that has made Christianity appealing and real to me.
    If I did not have Aslan to represent God to me as a child I would have been an atheist. And still would be.

  2. Phil Sharp permalink
    November 30, 2008 5:45 pm

    Aw, I shouldn’t have read your post. Now I miss the Chronicles of Narnia and am going to think about it all day. Unlike most people, I actually didn’t read the entire series until I was older (24 years old). It was my first year teaching 5th grade and I read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe with my class. When we finished, we enjoyed the book so much that we just kept reading until we finished the whole series.

    If you have any other books that you’ve liked as much then please let me know. I’ve recently decided to read a book a week for the next year and I am looking for some great reads.

  3. Caroline permalink*
    November 30, 2008 8:01 pm

    Noelle: Aslan to me will always be the realest representation of Jesus, the most tangible in my head. Whether it’s blasphemous or not, I relate more to him as a lion rather as a scruffy vagabond in a robe and sandals. I love Him both ways, but Aslan…well, there is just something majestic about him.

    Keep looking for Narnia.
    Someday we’ll find it.

  4. Caroline permalink*
    November 30, 2008 8:02 pm

    Phil: I always have book recommendations — I’m not sure if you request recommendations for yourself or for your 5th graders, but I will leave you a few on your blog.

    Thanks for reading! 🙂


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