Brenna and I have been reading the Chronicles of Narnia together. We’re currently perhaps a quarter of the way through The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”, and last night we read the chapter where Eustace becomes a boy again. Now, I’ve always recognized the religious overtones to the series. On my last (personal) read-through of the series a few years ago, I even mapped out the specific religious themes and biblical stories that Lewis drew from (for example, “Dawn Treader” follows the theme of the seven deadly sins).
Rereading a good novel is much like reading the same scriptural passage over and over—each time you get something new out of it. As Brenna and I read about Aslan cutting deeply into Eustace and peeling away his draconic skin, it really hit me that this wasn’t just a fantastical representation of Eustace’s becoming a rather pleasant boy. It was a literal description of the process of repentance.
Eustace began the scene trying to peel away his own draconic skin. He was able, at first, to rub away a few scales. Then, with a little more effort and discomfort, he peeled away a knobbly, dead skin. It hurt, like peeling away a scab, but once it was off, it felt good. Still, he was left in yet another layer of reptilian skin. He repeated this process a further three times, each time removing another scaly layer, only to be left with yet another beneath.
Finally Aslan stepped in to help. He cut deeply (Eustace described it as down to his heart and more painful than anything he’d ever experienced) and then peeled away the thickest layer yet. Eustace was left a small, naked, skinless boy. Aslan took him in his arms, which hurt—he was yet tender, with his tiny, naked body—and then threw him into a nearby pool of soothing water. It stung for just a moment and then was utterly soothing—Eustace described it as “delicious.”
How true to the process of repentance this is. There’s only so much that we can do by ourselves. In the end, we have to rely upon Christ to excise the sin and torment—our own metaphorical draconic skins. The process will hurt. Repentance isn’t easy, and it’s awful and painful and often embarassing, but the end result is so wonderful. “Delicious” is an excellent word to describe how we feel afterward.
I’m always thankful for good literature, especially a book that can uphold good standards, teach true principles, and still be a good read. Thank goodness for authors like C. S. Lewis.
In other news, Jonas has been pretty sick recently. Kristy took him to the doctor yesterday, and it seems that he has RSV (a pretty common cold-like condition). It’s nothing serious, and there’s no real treatment—it just has to run its course.
Kristy and the kids were due to leave for Alabama today, but what is being called a “deadly” storm has swept across the Midwest, cutting off Chicago and Indianapolis, so they’ve delayed leaving until tomorrow when the weather will have cleared and roads should be better.
Finally, Twin Shadows is coming along. I’ve written almost 95,000 words of the first draft now.