Monday, September 10, 2012

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb...

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. ― C.S. Lewis, The 
Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I have been watching people a lot lately. I am not entirely sure why. But I think that it is primarily because they have been very interesting to me.  Ok, ok, you are right. That was kind of obvious there. But it is true.

I have explained being young before, as similar to looking out of a window:

You are safe in your familiar environment, you can see the big bad world out there. But you can't touch it, it can't touch you. When you are small all you can see are beautiful colors out the window. Of course, when you are small whatever is outside does not really matter. As you get older, the window gets bigger, or perhaps you simply get closer to it. The colors start to form shapes, you are aware that there is a world out there, just waiting to be explored. But you still can only see what is directly in front of you. Just the trees, the rocks, perhaps a beautiful flower. You are safe inside.

As time goes on, you start to see more, life starts to make more sense. Now you can see beyond the trees. You can see the sky, the lake, the animals. You can see dangers before they arise, you can see the saplings just starting to grow. You can see fish jumping in the lake. Eventually, you step outside the safety of your room. For a while you can hop back in when things get scary, but eventually, you realize that the more time you spend inside, the less you can see. The more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the easier it becomes. The better it becomes, the more exciting, the more beautiful. After a while, you don't want to go back inside anymore. The older you get, the more you can see. The more you understand. The more you realize just how small your vision was when you were young. Eventually, you laugh at yourself for jumping back inside, there are such wonderful things out here! True, there are dangers. Many many dangers, but oh they are worth it.

You are an expert at wandering now - perhaps even a bit cocky. You know your way, you can see all around, the path is clear. You know what you want, who you want to become.

You smile as a child tells you of the wonders of their flower, knowing the magnificent mountains they have yet to face, knowing there is no possible way you can explain, but being excited for them never-the-less and giving them a mysterious "You can be anything you want to be." Simply meaning, 'don't stop at the flower.  There is more to be discovered!' Knowing all the while that you cannot explain it, they HAVE to wait and find out for themselves. And so you celebrate with them their flower.

And you get older, you understand more. And as you see all the things that were once hidden, you realize just how much there is still yet to be found.  Again, you laugh at your former self, of course you don't know all there is to know. You don't want to, where would the magic be? As you have kids of your own you carefully construct safe-houses for them. Putting the most beautiful things you can find in front of their windows, all the while knowing that you are simply painting a picture. How much danger do you let them see? After all, eventually they too will walk through, whether we want them to or not. How can we best prepare them for something they are not old enough to understand? How can we prepare them when they don't yet have eyes to see?

You shake your head at the young woman/man that boasts of jumping into the lake. They can't see the rocks beneath yet.  They are not ready. There is danger they cannot see, and they wont see it yet. No matter how well it is explained, they cannot understand. How can you warn them of the danger? We panic, "THERE ARE ROCKS!" We yell. But all they hear is gibberish, and they think we are the crazy ones. Yelling gibberish, they can see the lake, it looks fine to them! What are these "rocks?" It makes no sense. They can't see yet, they can't.

And you become more and more aware of all the rocks that you still cannot see.  Because you can remember, you remember at 6 years old you learning that the colors had shapes. At 10 you learned the shapes had names. At 13 you learned that outside looked fun. At 16 you discovered you could touch it if you really tried. At 18 you learned you could explore, but still come back into safety if you needed it.  At 21 you learned you could wander as far as you wanted to go. At 25 you discovered you couldn't go back, you didn't want to go back. At 30 you discovered that there was so so so much more you still hadn't seen...

What comes at 35? 40...50...75?

At 30 you see people. Or perhaps way before... perhaps after. Everyone's journey through the window is different.

At 30 you see people wandering. You see people confused, you see people laughing, hurt, upset, joyful, loving, hating, lost, anxious, peaceful, angry...broken.

You see people broken. Sometimes broken is a good thing. Sometimes not. But oh, there are so very many broken people.

Eustace Clarence Scrubb was a wretched boy. Through his window, no one existed but himself. Everything was there to please him. According to him, everyone else's windows saw the same thing as his, because he couldn't see beyond himself. And according to him, his window was better then everyone else's, and he bragged about the pretty colors. His window had become a mirror, reflecting only him. And until he could change his attitude, nothing else would change. No trees, no mountians, no beautiful lake. No Aslan.

But you see, just because we cannot see the rocks yet, does not mean they are not there. Oh they are there. And they can still cause damage. REAL damage.

Some people don't ever leave their rooms, no matter how old they get. And they get angry when someone moves something outside their window. They like it to stay the same, all the time. They don't want to explore, they don't want to grow. They also don't want anyone else to grow or explore, because they cannot see beyond themselves. Their window has become a mirror, reflecting only ME-ness. They don't want to see the rocks...and when they stub their toe they assume it must have been something YOU did, because in their mind. The rocks don't exist. They are blind, selfish, arrogant, and until they change their attitude, nothing will change. No trees, no mountains, no beautiful lake. No Aslan.

But we are not meant to live in a cave.
“He [Eustace] had turned into a dragon while he was asleep. Sleeping on a dragon's hoard with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart, he had become a dragon himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

When we stay inside, something changes in us. We become something ugly. When we pretend the rocks don't exist. When we arrange our world according to how WE think it SHOULD be instead of discovering what is. When we force others to leave everything exactly where they found it because we can't handle anything that is outside of our own control. When we start collecting pretty things, hoarding everything nice for ourselves and shoving the world aside. Because it is too HARD out there. And it is easy and comfortable and dark in here. We become what we have surrounded ourselves with.

Do you know how Eustace turned back into a boy? Do you know how he stepped outside of his window?

Aslan, the great lion, literally ripped the dragon scales off with His claws. Everything had to be brutally torn away. Once the dragon part of him had been entirely destroyed, then he could be human again. Then he could be used. Then he could see, then he could understand. The colors had become shapes, the shapes had names. He could see the rocks.

  “The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart.” - Eustace

 "Tearing"and "Ripping" are ugly words. People are broken. So very broken. But they can be fixed, by being ripped apart. I can be fixed, you can be fixed - we can be fixed!

“It would be nice and fairly nearly true, to say that 'from that time forth, Eustace was a different boy.' To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Ha! "The cure had begun." I like that. It sounds so full of hope.

I like watching people. People are very interesting to me. Because no matter what we have done in our lives, no matter what has been done to us. No matter how many rocks, no matter how blind we have been. Even if we have changed entirely into something that is completely outside of human, there is hope.

We are all broken. We all need a good ripping into every so often. But the cure has begun. I don't like watching people because we are broken.  I like seeing the cure, I like seeing the hope. I like seeing the joy. It is there, in all of us. Even the most dragonish of the lot, there is a cure, it has begun. We will not be broken forever.

But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, Sarah!!

    Now I want to go back and read them all again! But Dawn Treader was one of my favorites.


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