I finished reading The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis to the kids this week.
(If you have never read it or the accompanying books in the Chronicles of Narnia series you should stop now, drop everything, go out and buy the books and read them all this month. They are very worth the time, and really great to read aloud to kids as well.)
I have no idea how many times I have read this book before. Many.
I noticed something this time through that I don't remember noticing before.
The villain of the story is a witch. Her primary power is her ability to make people forget; who they are, where they're from, and what they are supposed to be doing.
We see it first when the children encounter her on the moor. By the time they are finished talking to her all they can think about is their own comfort; warm beds, hot baths, and getting in out of the cold. So strong does this idea become in their minds that they almost completely forget that they are on a quest, miss the signs they are supposed to follow and find themselves in grave danger as well.
The earth men she causes to forget all about their homeland, to believe that there is nothing else for them but to toil in her service day after day.
Prince Rillian's enchantment is the most sinister of all. For 10 years she keeps him with her, and he is devoted to her, thinking her his rescuer, and benefactor. She plans to invade the country that he is already prince of and rule it by force through him. Essentially, controlling him and so controlling what is rightfully his to begin with. During the hour a day that he does remember she keeps him bound, and powerless, until he forgets once more.
There is nothing like a good story to get at a fundamental truth in a way that is approachable.
For that is what happens to us all the time. We forget who we are. We forget where we are from. We forget what we are supposed to be doing. Some of us never even knew to begin with, which is the greatest tragedy of all.
We end up filling our time and days with things that don't matter, distract and are dangerous. The relationship we have to our lives, our vocation, our sphere of influence becomes distorted and wrong. Instead of a blessing, they become a curse.
All because we don't remember who we really are, where we are really from, or what we're really supposed to be doing.
In fact, we're all like the prince. We're children of the king, heirs to a glorious kingdom, and tasked with the work of nurturing and caring for those in it. Ours is meant to be a large and glorious life. But if we fall under enchantment and forget that, we are merely puppets, cheerless miserable puppets with very small lives. Or worse, tyrants, abusing our power over those we are charged to care for.
for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light... Awake oh sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ shall shine his Light on you. (Eph.5)
We need to remember. We need to be set free. We need to find our way out of darkness into the light of the sun. But we are not alone. One who didn't forget and never succumbed to enchantment has come to shine his Light on us, rescue us and show us the way.