In my younger days while spending hours in ‘study forced labour’, a friend suggested that for relaxation, I read CS Lewis’s Narnia children’s stories. These stories ignited a pilot light that opened a reality I had not previously experienced.
I recently came across a quote that helped me better understand this reaction.
‘True ‘holiness’ is when you leave every person more alive than when you found them. As Simone Weil put it, ‘Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvellous, intoxicating.’
That really sums up the experiences of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy during their journeys and encounters with Aslan.
A classic New Testament example of this phenomenon was the Samaritan woman’s reaction to her brief encounters with Jesus, and the subsequent impact that also rippled through her community. Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).
It is very easy to leave Jesus statement in the spiritual realm, but it is clear that this ‘real good’, ‘new, marvellous and intoxicating’, ‘spring of water’, that leaves people more alive than when found, is intended to commence welling up in the here and now.
Fatigue is a huge problem in our community, and GP’s only find obvious medical causes in around 10% of all presentations. Tom Rath in his book ‘Are You Fully Charged’ found only 11% of 10,000 people Gallup surveyed felt they had a lot of energy. Following his exhaustive review of all the literature, the number one issue behind this malaise epidemic was pursuing happiness without meaning!
I often feel more alive by new evidences of God’s shadow and creative presence from such unexpected sources, like this social research. I can then share in different ways with individuals and groups, to hopefully help them to become more ‘alive’ in a Shalom sense. Several coal miners recently described this as ‘passion’, following some group presentation feedback in central Queensland (which I entirely attribute to God’s Spirit working through my very limited self).
May we all continue to struggle to ‘redeem our time’ and allow Christ our Aslan to make us more alive and energetic, for us to then pass to others.