failing like never before


The Morning

I remember when I was first introduced to C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia. It was on one of those hot lazy Saturdays, where you want to do nothing but lay down and stare at the ceiling. I would have been seven years old at the time, I remember because of the house we were living in. My sister had a box set of the Chronicles of Narnia, and they still sit in her room to this day. I pulled out The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (it was labeled as "Book 1" in our box set) and settled down to read it. It was so entrancing that after I finished I reached for book 2, Prince Caspian. I finished the entire Chronicles of Narnia in one day when I was seven years old. Truth to tell, I doubt I understood all of it at the time, but the prose and the way the words wove together seemed so lovely and mystical at the time that I couldn't stop until there was nothing left to read. Yet after that day, the Chronicles left my mind and I thought nothing of them for many years.

I remember in fifth grade, a classmate brought up The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and that I had boasted of how I had read through the entire Chronicles in one day, and then proceeded to rattle off a brief description of each book. I used to be quite the arrogant child (still am in many ways, although now I have so much less to boast about). Not much later, my sister began reading Lewis's The Screwtape Letters. Yet still after that, I thought nothing of Lewis and the Chronicles for many years.

A few years ago, Disney made a movie out of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and I went to see with my sister and her friends. I reread the book soon after seeing the movie, but at the time, it was nothing more then a pretty story. And so I thought nothing more of it for a few more years.

Just a few weeks ago I saw an advertisement for the new Prince Caspian movie, and so I decided, being on break and having little to do, that I would reread the entire Chronicles of Narnia. I spread it out over the course of two days this time, mostly because The Silver Chair had gone missing from my sister's box set and it took me a while to find it (it was stuck behind an old Chinese cookbook). With each book I read, I regained more and more of my wonder for C.S. Lewis. I realize, that the Chronicles of Narnia are far from being the pinnacle of English literature, but they tell such lovely tales. And it is unfortunate that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has been relegated to the children's bin because of its "childish" story line and uncomplicated prose, certainly, there are themes in the Chronicles that are far from being childish. Consider the following quote from Lewis's The Last Battle:

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 on one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better then the one before.

I daresay that any young child would find these lines as entrancing as I did when I was little. But even now, they still present quite a lovely thought. Living a never ending life, where every day is better then the one before.

But there was one line that stuck out more then any other to me in The Last Battle.

"There was a real railway accident," said Aslan softly. "Your father and mother and all of you are - as you used to call it in the Shadow-Lands - dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.

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