A few days after our wedding in 1998, my husband and I sat down in a pub in Ireland and shared with one another what each of us remembered about our ceremony and reception. From the moment I had joined hands with him at the altar, we had spent 95 percent of that day together, side by side. But we’d had a few separate conversations, and though we truly felt we were – in all ways – looking in the same direction, we had seen different things. Why? Because, try as people might, no two can ever view the world exactly the same way. And we should thank God we can’t. Life would be rather boring otherwise.
But sometimes we want SO much for someone (especially a ‘someone’ particularly close to us), to see what we see. To appreciate a work of art, for example, the way we do. To savor the flavor of a meal, the way we do. And when we perceive that a special someone doesn’t share our passion, we feel alone. We may even feel judged and isolated if we choose to spend time on this passion without the support or shared interest of the person we wish would come alongside us.
Before you get worried and start thinking this blog is about my husband, don’t!!! It’s not. But we were together, watching a movie, when my mind started rolling along these lines…..
Last Saturday was Family Movie Night again (see my Oct. 15 post). We were watching “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” based on the fourth novel in the series by C.S. Lewis. In the novel and film, the young heroine Lucy is on a mission with her sister and two brothers to help an exiled prince claim his position as the rightful king of Narnia. Lucy is very hopeful that they might once again see Aslan, the Great Lion who willingly sacrificed his own life as a ransom for Lucy’s brother Edmund, in the first novel, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. After his death, Aslan reappeared to Lucy and her siblings, giving them encouragement, hope, and strength as they grew up.
So, there we are, my whole family glued to the unfolding Narnian drama, and I find myself totally captivated by Lucy and her personal quest, because I, too, want desperately to see the lion.
Lions, specifically male lions, are my favorite animals. I think they are majestic and regal-looking. They appear wise. Strong and silent until action is needed and then they are the fiercest of fighters. And if you are a fan of C.S. Lewis, you know that he wrote The Chronicles of Narnia as an allegory, and Aslan is the Christ symbol. And oh, how I want to see Him.
For a brief moment, Lucy sees Aslan across a deep gorge, but the others do not. My heart skips watching the angst in Lucy’s eyes as she grasps that her siblings won’t share her joy. From that point on, I cling to her hope, thinking maybe this – or that – turn in the forest will reveal the beautiful Aslan. Finally, she is reunited with him, and they discuss how she didn’t leave the others behind when she saw him, to simply come his way.
“How could I – I couldn’t have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I? Don’t look at me like that. . .oh well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?”
Aslan said nothing.
“You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly, “that it would have turned out all right – somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?”
“To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.”
“Oh dear,” said Lucy.
“But anyone can find out what will happen,” said Aslan. “If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me – what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.”
While Aslan encourages her, he also does not say he will swoop in and solve Narnia’s conflict. Troubling as it is, the realization comes to Lucy that she must tell the others what she has seen, knowing that they will not believe her, or will perhaps only come to believe in time. She buries her face in Aslan’s mane and is imbued with his strength.
“Now you are a lioness,” said Aslan. “And now all Narnia will be renewed.” *
For me, this one scene reveals so much about a life of faith.
- First, when Christ calls me, he is not asking me to be concerned about whether my neighbors, or my friends, or my family understand. In fact, I am to follow Him, regardless. My focus is to be Him, and His plan for me is always for good. This is so critical to remember, especially if I’ve prayed for so long for people I care about to turn to God, or have gently tried to share my joy and been met with skepticism or criticism. I could easily fall prey to despair. The journey to Christ is a personal one, and once a person encounters Him (be it gradually or in a life-changing moment), the experience is so unlike anything else, that it’s nearly impossible to fully explain to another person. Still, I am called to try, and to continue to love Him first. The exchange between Lucy and Aslan, especially on film, is tender. It’s a face-to-face conversation. Anything less would have diminished its significance. And Christ wants the same from me. I am that significant to Him. Every person on the planet is.
- Second, when Christ calls me, I won’t be alone. He is with me always.
- Third, when Christ calls me, I am to trust Him.
- And Fourth, when Christ calls me and I lean into Him, He gives me His strength to do whatever He is asking of me. And that is all the strength I will need.
Sometime in the middle of the movie, I whispered to my husband, “C.S. Lewis was brilliant. Brilliant!!” It was probably the understatement of the year.
Aslan from C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.
* Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia: Book 4 – Prince Caspian; The Return to Narnia. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY. p. 149.