Picking a seventh book for this series was difficult – not because I didn’t have one, but because there are so many great stories that have influenced my life. Choosing only one more was a challenge!
In truth, I did choose it several weeks ago. And then I decided to re-read it. Which I did – albeit a bit slowly. And then I moved houses, which turned out to be about a 2-month task (a month to pack and a month to unpack). All of which has resulted in the very sad truth that it’s been almost four months since I wrote my last post in this series. And to think this was meant to be a week-long series…
But that’s the way life goes sometimes – best laid plans and whatnot…
I love all of the Chronicles of Narnia, but Book 3: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has always been my favorite. I mean, the book begins with one of the best opening sentences ever written: “There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” (Which still makes me laugh – every. single. time.)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the tale of an epic adventure – and it has everything: dragons, mystery, magic, and (of course) a trip to the end of the world. The heroes of the story (including poor Eustace, who (spoiler alert!) becomes quite a better person for turning into a dragon and then being un-dragon-ed again) embark on a journey to see if they can discover what has become of a group of explorers who once set out to explore the world and to see if they would, at last, come to Aslan’s Country (Narnia’s metaphor for heaven). Along the way, they have a rather eclectic set of experiences: they topple a terrible government, set captives free, weather terrible storms (both real and emotional), grapple with moral questions (including honor, honesty, jealousy, greed, and selfishness), escape from sea monsters, befriend magicians and retired stars, sail thru the longest and darkest night of their lives, discover new worlds and incredible food, and encounter extremely ridiculous people.
Which, when you put it all that way, sounds an awful lot like the stuff of real life, doesn’t it? 😉
I think that’s what makes the best stories so great. They take the ordinary and sometimes difficult things of our lives and put them in a whole new context, allowing us to see the ordinary in a whole new light. Ridiculous people become Dufflepuds, and you almost can’t help but love them while laughing at their silliness (even when they’re driving you the slightest bit crazy). Dark nights (literal and metaphorical) become survivable with a little bit of light and the company of friends who will row with you into them (and out of them again). Dinner becomes a time to celebrate successes of the past and hopes for the future, and at the end of a long, long journey, we will come home to a place where everything is clear and bright and sweet and good and we will never hunger for anything again.
Call it Heaven, call it Aslan’s Country – there’s a longing for home planted deep in our souls that will find its ultimate fulfillment when we arrive.
And yet… the journey matters, too.Everything that happens between now and Heaven matters. What sort of adventurer will you be? Click To Tweet
There are days when I’m Edmund – redeemed traitor in awe of grace; on others I’m Lucy, with child-like faith and a deep wish to be liked by everyone; on others I’m Eustace, in need of a good un-dragon-ing; and on still others, I’m the practical Drinian who can sometimes forget the value of faith but recognizes an albatross when he sees it. And then there are days when I’m Caspian, torn between all of my responsibilities and the desire to leave everything behind in favor of new adventures.
And on all days, I am on a journey, in search of Aslan’s Country, longing for Heaven – doing the best I can with what I’ve got, and grateful for good company. Because let’s face it – the best moments in any epic adventure are rooted in great friendships.
"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else." —Fred Rogers via @momentumdash
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"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Einstein