Going through the experience of a funeral is meaningful but also tiring. You enter a time of reflections and sorting through someone’s life – both physically as you clean out their living spaces, and spiritually as you consider their legacy. In a real way, you leave “ordinary time”. Lyle and I arrived back in Winnipeg pretty exhausted. We both felt we could have slept forever.
Returning to work was like going back into another universe. It felt a bit like stepping into a boat in the rapids when you’ve been on different, quieter terrain. Whoosh, and you’re off, ready or not! I think my inner self was choosing the second option, hollering, “Not ready!”
Our community has a study night on Wednesday. This week (as is often the case), it was perfect timing. For all of us, whatever rapids we’re in, our boat is invited to pull over and stop for a while in a quiet side pool to regroup and refocus.
When I was a kid, maybe 8 years old, a advertising jingle made an impression on me, “Hop in the car, come as you are to A & W.” Hot, sandy and grubby after a weekend at the lake, I was in in a sweaty undershirt when our family went to the A & W drive-thru (remember the window trays?). I was embarrassed to look so disheveled, but I grew totally happy as I remembered the jingle – I could come as I was! I didn’t have to be perfect first. (Ok, I was a weird kid!)
This is how I felt (and always feel) on Wednesdays, and I wasn’t let down. The topic for the evening was C.S. Lewis’ land of Narnia. We’d been invited to think of a scene from the books that has always stayed with us. As three themes from Lewis’ classic works were presented, we shared our memorable scenes.
The whole evening was really helpful in refocusing me. It might sound like a small thing, but just remembering the deeper stream of life again was helpful. I had been swept up in the surface swirls and eddies of life, forgetting the more sustaining currents beneath me.
Lewis believed that most of us are so pre-occupied with ourselves and myriad worries that we aren’t thinking straight about who God is. We know we’re “supposed” to love God, so how come it so often feels like a should? His aim in writing the Narnia books was to step over the “shoulds” and experience God through a story. He wanted to “help us sense what the experience of God is like, as if we had never before really thought about it.” (Rowan Williams in The Lion’s World)
It is no accident that all the children’s adventures starts with a door in a wardrobe. They were stuck bored in a house on a rainy day, and they walked through it to another much more adventurous world. Their lives were never the same. As we shared our favorite passages from the books, it was as if each person had walked through the same door. I was renewed and strengthened from our discussion.
I am thankful for all the doors I can walk through which take me to the deeper places.