Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself.
The moon was up, painting the world silver, making things look just a little more alive.
Do not resent your place in the story. Do not imagine yourself elsewhere. Do not close your eyes and picture a world without thorns, without shadows, without hawks. Change this world. Use your body like a tool meant to be used up, discarded, and replaced. Better every life you touch. We will reach the final chapter. When we have eyes that can stare into the sun, eyes that only squint for the Shenikah, then we will see laughing children pulling cobras by their tails, and hawks and rabbits playing tag.
Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it.
The world is rated R, and no one is checking IDs. Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not pretend there is no danger . Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows.
Drink your wine. Laugh from your gut. Burden your moments with thankfulness. Be as empty as you can be when that clock winds down. Spend your life. And if time is a river, may you leave a wake.
Understand this: we are both tiny and massive. We are nothing more than molded clay given breath, but we are nothing less than divine self-portraits, huffing and puffing along the mountain ranges of epic narrative arcs prepared for us by the Infinite Word Himself.
Cowards live for the sake of living, but for heroes, life is a weapon, a thing to be spent, a gift to be given to the weak and the lost and the weary, even to the foolish and the cowardly.
Life is a story. Why do we die? Because we live. Why do we live? Because our Maker opened His mouth and began to tell a story.
God is a God of galaxies, of storms, of roaring seas and boiling thunder, but He is also the God of bread baking, of a child’s smile, of dust motes in the sun. He is who He is, and always shall be. Look around you now. He is speaking always and everywhere. His personality can be seen and known and leaned upon. The sun is belching flares while mountains scrape our sky while ants are milking aphids on their colonial leaves and dolphins are laughing in the surf and wheat is rippling and wind is whipping and a boy is looking into the eyes of a girl and mortals are dying.
Do not fear the shadowy places. You will never be the first one there. Another went ahead and down until He came out the other side.
Lay your life down. Your heartbeats cannot be hoarded. Your reservoir of breaths is draining away. You have hands, blister them while you can. You have bones, make them strain – they can carry nothing in the grave. You have lungs, let them spill with laughter.
Your life is your own, your glory is your glory, but you will lose it if you keep it for yourself. Grasp it for the sake of others.
Living is the same thing as dying. Living well is the same thing as dying for others.
As long as I’m dealing in honesty, I may as well admit that I have been more influenced (as a person) by my childhood readings of Tolkien and Lewis than I have been by any philosophers I read in college and grad school. The events and characters in Narnia and Middle Earth shaped my ideals, my dreams, my goals. Kant just annoyed me.
Imagine a poem written with such enormous three-dimensional words that we had to invent a smaller word to reference each of the big ones; that we had to rewrite the whole thing in shorthand, smashing it into two dimensions, just to talk about it. Or don’t imagine it. Look outside. Human language is our attempt at navigating God’s language; it is us running between the lines of His epic, climbing on the vowels and building houses out of the consonants.
After a few mouthfuls of moon-flavored air, even the stubbornly drowsy can find themselves wide-eyed.. All the normal noises of life were gone, leaving behind the secretive sounds, the shy sounds, the whispers and conversations of moss disputing with grass over some soft piece of earth, or the hummingbird snoring.
In this story, the sun moves. In this story, every night meets a dawn and burns away in the bright morning. In this story, Winter can never hold back the Spring… He is the best of all possible audiences, the only Audience to see every scene, the Author who became a Character and heaped every shadow on Himself. The Greeks were right. Live in fear of a grinding end and a dank hereafter. Unless you know a bigger God, or better yet, are related to Him by blood.
Every rock is spoon by the Word. Every time I touch a stone, I am touching the Voice of God. Every cell of me is crafted by that artistry. My life is His breath. But we mortals grow numb. We want to feel more. And so we add MSG to our earthly brands of holiness.
The fall of man did not introduce evil; it placed us on the wrong side of it, under its rule, needing rescue.
Stealing ideas from contemporaries is rude and tasteless. Stealing from the long dead is considered literary and admirable. The same is true of grave-robbing. Loot your local cemetery and find yourself mired in social awkwardness. But unearth the tomb of an ancient king and you can feel free to pop off his toe rings. You’ll probably end up on a book tour, or bagging an honorary degree or two.
It is hard to stay focused with so much swirling around me. God is distracting. He never stops talking, and I can never stop listening. There is a reason we sleep.
Live Like a Narnian: Christian Discipleship in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles
In the history of the world there have been lots of onces and lots of times, and every time has had a once upon it. Most people will tell you that the once upon a time happened in a land far, far away, but it really depends on where you are. The once upon a time may have been just outside your back door. It may have been beneath your very feet. It might not have been in a land at all but deep in the sea’s belly or bobbing around on its back.
Your father died for me, and dying with you would be an honor, though not as great as dying to save you.