Can you imagine how Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy must have felt when they first stepped out of the wardrobe into a magical land blanketed in snow and ice?
Excited. Thrilled. Ecstatic! And doubtless a little afraid to believe that it could be true. This was the sort of adventure that every child dreamed of – could it really be happening to them?
But then, as the initial wonderment faded and they realized that their magical land was also dangerous, I image the joy was replaced by doubt. They felt lost, lonely, uncertain. It was a magical world with trials and struggles as vivid and real as their own land, without any of the comforts or familiarity of home.
But gradually, as the years passed, England was forgotten and Narnia became their new home. They grew up in Narnia, they ruled in Narnia, and then suddenly, they were swept away, back to their old life as children.
No longer kings and queens, no longer even adults, they were forced to jump back into life as evacuees in an England at war. Can you imagine the transition? Sorrow at the thought of friends they would never see again. Adjusting from ruling a country to living as a simple school-boy or girl, from talking animals to the dumb witless beasts of our world. (I can just picture some hilarity happening here – Lucy now and then forgetting where she is and trying to talk to animals!)
Regardless of your opinion of the new Narnia movies, I think Prince Caspian illustrated this transition well. The sense of lostness, that the children must have felt, never quite knowing where they belonged as children of two worlds.
And it’s not until the Last Battle, that you realize that for all the friends of Narnia, home was not truly Narnia, nor was home England. Home was Aslan’s country.
At times, I feel like a child of two worlds.
Putting aside for the moment (yet not intending to discount) the obvious allegory that as children of God, we are strangers and aliens in this world awaiting our true home to be revealed, at times, as a writer, I feel like I am a part of two completely different worlds. Perhaps even three!
There is the writing world.
And writers are a strange breed.
I suppose that sounds funny coming from an aspiring writer, but ’tis true. Who else willingly stays awake into the long hours of the night, fingers flying across the keyboard, pounding out painstaking word after painstaking word to settle the fate of imagined (but oh so real) characters? The weight of a dream world rests upon the writer’s shoulders. And it is heavier than it looks! ;)
And there is the non-writing world, i.e. the rest of life! With real people, real problems, real adventures, real opportunities to minister to people and be a light for Christ.
And, in my life at least, there is the camp world. My friends from camp will understand this, I’m sure. Camp is a world in and of itself. A sort of Narnia. A bubble, if you will, where you live and serve and eat and breathe Christian ministry and fellowship.
All three worlds are completely different, yet time-consuming. They are equally compelling and vie for my attention. And none of them is quite fully understood by the others.
It reminds me of Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy, where every time the main character sleeps in one world, he wakes in the other. And the longer he spends in that world, the more convinced he is that the other is but a dream. Until he sleeps again and wakes in the other.
The longer I spend in one world, the more that one world captures my attention to the exclusion of the others. It’s rather fascinating, and rather odd, all at the same time.
I suppose it’s human nature. It’s the same with our Christian walk. The longer we spend focused on our world, the more the real world, the heavenly world, seems like a dream. And the longer we spend focused on Christ and eternity, the more we realize that this world is temporary, the breath before the waking.
As Aslan says in the Last Battle:
“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us, this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
~ C.S Lewis, The Last Battle