i just realized today that this is the last week of October. saturday is it for this 31 days writer’s challenge-woah! i know some people plan their writing out in advance and outline their posts and such-i always wanted to be like them. it really is a wise and thoughtful approach, especially for the reader. but while i am waiting for that change in me, i have to just keep writing anyway, and pray that you, the reader, will give me grace. the next thoughts for the cabin story are needing more time to flesh out-so have to wait till tomorrow. i did actually look at the calendar this morning (progress!) and hope that i can wrap up the cabin story in three posts, which will give me two days for final thoughts on this concept of chasing after that joy that cannot be taken.
The White Witch? Who is she?
Why, it is she that has got Narnia under her thumb. It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!”
Lucy and Mr. Tumnus from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
it has felt like a long long winter, and i’m not talking about the weather. it has been a long time since i’ve experienced the Lord’s presence in the way i used to. like Mr. Tumnus, i can handle the winter as long as there is still Christmas. there is so much depth in these few words Lewis penned, and if nothing else they bring the gift of a kind companion who understands the dark and hope-needy places.
There was one who was not afraid of any evil tidings, for her heart stood fast believing in the Lord. And her trust was in the tender mercy of God for ever and ever.
Often He had arisen as light in the darkness.
Often she had called upon Him in troubles and He had delivered her, and heard her what time the storm fell upon her.
He had been merciful, loving and righteous, and she had said, “Who is like unto the LORD our God…..
And now she found herself standing alone, looking into a great mist.
Fold after fold the hills lay there before her, but always in mist. She could see no path, except a little track in the valley below. She thought that she was quite alone, and for a while she stood looking, listening, and feeling this loneliness and uncertainty harder to bear than any acute distress had ever been.
Then, softly, voices began to speak within her, now discouraged, now encouraging.
“My flesh and my heart faileth.”
“But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
“My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my soul: and my kinsmen stand afar off.”
“Nevertheless, I am continually with Thee: Thou has holden me by my right hand.”
“My tears have been my meat day and night; while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?”
“Thou shalt answer for me, O Lord my God.”
“My way is hidden from my God.”
“He knows the way that i take. All my ways are before Him….They thirsted not when He led them through the deserts. Will they faint when He leads them through the hills?”
Then she looked again at the mist, and it was lightening, and she knew that she was not alone, for her God was her refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. He was about her path; He would make good His loving-kindness toward her,….He would not let her be disappointed of her hope.
So it was enough for her to see only the next few steps, because He would go before her and make His footsteps a way to walk in. And of this she was also sure: He whom she followed saw through the mist to the end of the way.
And in that hour a song was given to her. She sang it as she walked……And as she walked thus and sang, others whom she did not see because of the mist that still lay on her way, heard her singing and were comforted and helped to follow on, even unto the end.
-Amy Carmichael Figures of the True
to read of another who found herself in a mist and then to be comforted by her song does two things for me. it gives me the gift of being understood and it gives me the courage to sing the song given to me as i walk. in a way that is why i write here. i write out the ‘songs’ given in my hour of need. those ‘songs’ are that living water that never runs dry, that joy that cannot be taken.
I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.
-Markus Zusak The Book Thief
i could go on and on about this story, and the real kind of pressing on hope and community that it bleeds throughout it’s pages. i have often asked myself why it is that i am drawn to these types of stories. my favorite movies to watch are in the genre of Life is Beautiful and Good Will Hunting. my favorite types of books, Green Leaf in Drought Time, Things as They Are, the Book Thief, All The Light we Cannot See. i read a lot of things, but these are the ones that resonate with the deep questions i wrestle with. they so often seem too dark for my friends, too sad, too ugly, too brutal. but like the Giver so eloquently illustrates, it brings the color back into my world as so much beauty and glory and brilliance shine through. and for me this is the reality of the life on this earth where the enemy works to make it always winter and never Christmas. these stories remind me that while it may be winter, Christmas will still come. and that gives me hope, which ushers in a joy that cannot be taken.
Christmas will always still come.