between the paws of the true Aslan.
~C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
I remember walking in the front door and seeing the television on during the day, which was shocking in itself, but there was Walter Cronkite, weaving his words with a quiet calm to a nation holding it's breath. What I didn't know was that, thousands of miles away from our little mid-west town, another great voice of the 20th century, another 'Jack', had also died that day--C.S. Lewis.
I grew up hearing Lewis' name in our household and in many of my dad's sermons, but my own reading of Lewis wasn't until I was in my 30's. For some reason The Chronicles of Narnia passed me by as a child (probably because I was too busy re-reading the Little House series about 50 times), but somehow I inherited our family's dog-eared set of the Narnia books. I must have had some extra time on my hands, with three kids running circles around me I don't know where I found it, but I decided to read the entire seven volume set of Narnia, alongside Mere Christianity as a companion. I devoured them and they changed my life. Mere Christianity is now embedded in my brain, and Narnia is imprinted on my heart.
And then I moved to Oxford, where Aslan and Reepicheep and Puddleglum were born; where Lewis lived and worked and wrote. Lewis' world became my daily landscape, and again my life changed, my understanding of his writing deepened.
|Addison's Walk, Magdalen College, Oxford|
|The Lewis Tree in it's full,|
|This is about one quarter of the tree and not|
even half of what hangs out over our garden.
|The garrett room at |
No. 1 Mansfield Road
And discipline and dreaming and desire,
Lest we forget our heritage and cease
The Spirit’s work—
to hunger and aspire........
~From Oxford, CS Lewis
When I dig in the dirt, the tree swaying overhead, I think of my favourite character, Puddleglum, fashioned after Lewis' gardener at the Kilns; "I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia."(The Silver Chair)