To say I devoured CS Lewis’ world would be an understatement.
Of course, I was far too young to appreciate what I now see as I read through well-worn volumes of The Chronicles of Narnia, yet, maybe I appreciated more than I realised.
My least favourite (but still well-read) volume was, The Silver Chair. As a child, the drab, grey world depicted in the opening scenes taunted me. The great wall circling the school with it’s locked gate only made my heart yearn for what lay on the other side, and though it should only hold more wet grass and dreary sky, Lewis was a master at crafting the impression that maybe, just maybe, something grander and more spectacular awaited.
From this world, and certainly from under my sheets at night, Narnia seemed like it may be just on the other side of the ordinary. In the drab greyness of this world, enough illusions existed to see, even if it were just from the corner of your eye, hints of heaven and glimpses of glory.
What I despised as a child, feverishly rushing through those early scenes to get to the good part, the part when Narnia would emerge bright and glorious from the mist, as an adult I now love. Yet even as a child, deep within, I think I could see, or at least sense, what Lewis was doing. Lewis was training our imaginations, maybe even our intellect, to pause and wonder in the mundane of this life, to view the ordinary with a sense expectation, to see beyond a wardrobe, or locked gate, or simple stable, to catch a glimpse of glory.
There are characters or course, who lived their entire lives in the secret light of that glory, as though the wonder of Aslan’s Country had broken through the great standing wave in the far eastern sea.
“Why should your Majesty expect it? My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise and Peepiceek will be head of the talking mice in Narnia.” ~Reepicheep~ ― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
As much as I wished and dreamed that it were true, Narnia is but a dream. Yet what a powerful dream it is!
Lewis’ world was a portal, in some gracious act on God’s behalf, fictional literature awoke my soul to the wonder of glory and significance of a real world that exists just beyond the narrow gate. Even though unspoken, those many years ago, I pledged with Reepicheep to sink with my nose to the sunrise. I charted a course that followed the signs and resolved to open my eyes to glimpses of glory and hints of heaven.
Look around you. If you look, really look – look not with glazed adult eyes but with the bright-eyed wonder of a child – you will see them.
Hints of heaven and glimpses of glory.
Maybe this world is not as grey as it would first seem.