Meditations with C. S. Lewis: Returning to Fairy Tales
C. S. Lewis, best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, was also one of the most profound thinkers of twentieth century Christianity. Along with J. R. R. Tolkien, he has inspired millions of people, include all of the authors at Lantern Hollow Press. On Sundays we would like to take a moment to offer up a little Lewis for your consideration.
My dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be
your affectionate Godfather,
C. S. Lewis
From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
One of the amazing things about Lewis as a person was the fact that he never “got too old” for fantastic stories. The tone of his stories changed over time, it is true, and he went through a period where he was “adult” enough to take himself all too seriously. Ironically, those are the periods of his life when, as a creative writer, he seemed to make the least impact. How many people, other than serious fans and students of Lewis, have even heard of Spirits in Bondage which Lewis intended to be his dramatic debut as an author of serious poetry? Instead, we remember best a small book intended as a gift for a child, written with no pretense, at a time when Lewis himself had reached the point he was describing above.
The pressures of life and of ego oftentimes make us forget to see the wonder in the world around us–physically and spiritually. We feel the weight of our responsibilities all too keenly. Responsibilities–to God, to family, to country, to community–are good things that remind us of where our priorities should be, but if we are not careful, they can become vampiric, taking up all of our attentions and sucking the life out of us. Ego does nothing to help that. It adds a further set of “requirements” to our list, not because we need to meet them but because our self-image demands it. And so we trudge along, feeling angry, exhausted, and unappreciated, unable to see the beauty and truth literally sitting at our feet, let alone comprehend any of it.
For everyone, the specifics will look different, but the result is almost always the same–we forget to look things as Christ said, with the eyes of a child. One blessed day, hopefully, with time and true maturity, we awaken to realize all that we have been missing and where our real priorities should be. On that day we can read fairy tales again.
Click here for the entire run of “Meditations with C. S. Lewis” so far. Interested in more about C. S. Lewis? Check out Passing Through the Shadowlands–an extended project where I am blogging through his life in letters, essays, and books.
Posted on April 22, 2012, in Brian Melton, C. S. Lewis, Christianity, Meditations, Philosophy and tagged C. S. Lewis, Christianity, fairy tales, Religion, religion christianity, Theology, truth. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.