“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~C.S. Lewis
A few days ago, I read The Silver Chair, one of the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. Although Mom read us the entire series multiple times when we were kids, this was the first time I had read this particular book for myself— and it had been over a decade since I’d last heard it anyway. Caught up in the world of witches, princes, and marshwiggles, I found new depth in the book and enjoyed it just as much as an adult as I did as a kid. The only problem was, the story stirred up a bunch of childhood emotions that still hold onto me— and ache deeply.
As kids, my three siblings and I identified with the Pevensie children, sometimes a little too much. Eric, the oldest, was Peter, a strong leader and very serious. I was Susan, overprotective and cautious. Christian was Edmund (although he usually resented getting stuck “being the bad kid”). Mary was, of course, Lucy, full of childlike wonder. As a kid, I didn’t like The Silver Chair as much as the other books because the Pevensie kids had been all told they couldn’t return to Narnia at that point. I felt even more emotional about The Last Battle because you find out that Susan has stopped believing in Narnia.
I knew I would never lose belief, but I also never wanted to be too old for Narnia. After all, what child can read that series and not spend hours wondering if such a thing could be real, and if a wardrobe or a garden door or a picture frame could be an entryway to a fantastic world?
As a little girl I sometimes tapped the wall on the back of my closet. If I saw branches even resembling an archway when I was playing in the woods, I ran through them. I never fully expected to find myself in Narnia, but I knew it could never hurt to try. Some days, when things felt like nothing would ever be right again, I curled up in a corner and prayed that God would pick me up and send me to Narnia. For some reason, facing fear and death as a brave servant of Aslan seemed a lot better than standing up in front of my fellow homeschooled siblings to give an oral report about the invention of the printing press.
The struggle still continues. Lately I’ve been trying to reconcile the two realities of my life: 1) My life is generally quiet, commonplace, often boring. 2) I am involved in the most incredible and important battle in the universe (see: the entire book of Revelation). I’m a kid playing hide-and-seek in rainy England and a foot soldier in the battle against the White Witch, and these things are happening at the same time. For some reason, I can only see the former, not the latter.
I’m beginning to realize what Aslan was thinking when he wouldn’t allow Peter and Susan back into Narnia. From then on out, the battles they had to fight were in England. The stakes wouldn’t seem as high after a physical battle with the army of evil, but they would not diminish— only become quieter. Commonplace. Maybe even boring.
I don’t ask to go to Narnia anymore. But I still feel the urge to go and tap on the back of my closet, just to make sure.