What C.S. Lewis Taught Me About Life

62c2e2087421a448cada2fc29493ec07If you’ve ever read the Chronicles of Narnia series, you will know the enjoyment of these books. The nostalgic childhood feeling, similar to picking up a Harry Potter book and letting the magical world surround you. I admire C.S. Lewis for his ability to use words and create a world that feels so real, that you feel like you are there breathing the air. The way he describes nature so frequently in his series, makes me truly appreciate the natural beauty in life. The lessons in each of the books are often far deeper and wiser than they appear. In babble.com,  “CS Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” And, truly, his friendship with Tolkien was based on their mutual interest in fantasy and creative myth.” For those who didn’t know, Lewis had a close friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

A precious lesson on true friendship, is based not on what the other person has to offer us, but what we can share with one another. The definition of true friendship can be distorted through the media, but we are always reminded through wonderful words of wisdom, the true meaning of friendship. It lives on in our hearts, rather than through what shows. It’s something that is felt. As one of the most influential Christians of the twentieth century, his writing had a profound way of touching others. He never writes in a way that constrains or narrows the mind, but more often writes with an open mind that invites each reader to join the journey. One of the lessons that I learned from Lewis, is to remain faithful in a way that doesn’t limit ones self. He teaches a great lesson in having humility, which can be truly felt in his writing.  “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Which is incredibly relevant, considering how we often make our own world the centre, when we are just a small part of an infinite universe.

The beauty of fantasy and creative writing, is the use of great imagination. The one that we all possess, but can forget when we get caught up in daily life. The simple reminder of how important it is to use our imagination, is one of the greatest lessons in our lives. The only way we can create, change and cultivate is to imagine. Lewis uses imagination to teach us lessons in reality. He allows us to open our eyes even more through creating a fantasy world, that reflects real life situations. He writes, “The more lucidly we think, the more we are cut off: the more deeply we enter into reality, the less we can think.”Remember to stop and feel, live and breathe in life away from the expected. We can conform and live by what is done, but to live truly is to live by truth. An honest life is never wrong. The colourful world and magic that is created through words see a vivid world.

Lewis taught me that I couldn’t possibly imagine an Aslan-less world, and therefore I couldn’t ever imagine the nonexistence of Jesus Christ. Aslan the Lion is the creator of all that is good. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan says “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason you were brought into Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you might know me better there.” In the series Lucy is the closest to Aslan. In Prince Caspian,  “Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”  “That is because you are older, little one,” answered he. “Not because you are?”  “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.” This is one of the most powerful and telling words in the book. It shows that as one matures in their faith the greater God appears. Lucy was always the most sensitive, trustworthy and honest one who sees Aslan the most. As the youngest, she still possesses the pureness of her mind, instead of the corruption that clouds many minds.

A reminder that we must try to remember the faith we had as a child. In a modern world, we can often forget our belief in Jesus Christ. Many people question why we can’t see Him. But, we must first believe, before we can see. A child is far less likely to judge, unless one teaches the child to do so. A child sees things for what they are, without changing or altering what is true. There is a sense of purity within that, that makes Lucy capable of seeing Aslan the most. As we grow older we can become more closed off and narrow minded. Lewis reminds us to embody an open mind, in order to live life with faith. In life, as adults we very often choose to walk by what we see, rather than by faith. I think this is why very often our society prioritise a physical and surfaced image, because many of us only live by what we can see. The truth is what we must endeavour in order to live a full life.

illustration by Pauline Baynes

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