Yay! C.S. Lewis!
I love him. I think he is extraordinary. Sometimes, I have dreams that I’m sitting by a fireplace with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien, drinking Scotch and making up fantastic worlds. Those are very happy dreams.
I love him for the same reason I love A.A. Milne—he writes stories for children that have meanings and lessons for people of all ages. And he’s wicked smart.
Lewis even said “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
In doing this, Lewis takes a simple concept and turns it into a guideline to live your life by.
Take The Chronicles of Narnia for example, it’s not just a story about a group of kids living in a different world—it is a story about our own lives on Earth and the conflicts we must face every day.
“One road leads home, and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness.”
This quote appears simple, but when you think about it, it’s actually quite terrifying.
Lewis tells us there is only one road to heaven, and the rest lead, well…somewhere else…and …it’s not a good place.
So basically, if we are not, right now, traveling on the path that leads us to heaven, then we are traveling away from heaven.
Well then, how are we supposed to know which path is the right one?
In this relativistic world, everyone is telling us that the right path is the one that fits with our own life plan—this can make it very difficult for us to stay on track. Society says to do whatever makes you happy—sounds good, right? Ehhhhh, well actually…not so much.
Everything seems to be based off of feeling these days. Now, usually, I’m OK with this…my decisions are based mostly on feelings and I tend not to always use logic—but there has to be a line…a big, bold line that separates the black from the white—we have to learn self-control, or we, as a whole, will lose.
Take eating ice cream for example. Ice cream is delicious, especially coffee ice cream, and ice cream makes most people happy. However, we can’t just eat ice cream whenever we want, because that is bad for us and if we can’t control how often or how much we eat, it will ultimately make us unhappy.
That’s the same with traveling away from the path to heaven. We do something that makes us happy at the moment, but it takes us off the path to heaven. After the first time we do this thing, whatever it may be, we know it was wrong, even though we enjoyed it. So, we go to confession and ask God to forgive us for choosing temporary happiness over him and we promise never to do it again—all is good.
Well, here is the problem with being humans…we tend to go back on our promises…especially the ones we make with God. I do this all the time, and I really don’t understand why. I mean, I’m afraid to go back on a promise I make to my eight-year-old brother, but sometimes it doesn’t even phase me when I go back on a promise on God. It’s like I think he won’t remember that I made the promise, or that he will understand why I couldn’t keep my word. I’m so dumb sometimes—why would I think that people (who tend to forget things easily) would remember something I said longer than the Creator of the Universe would?? I mean, seriously, c’mon Maddie!
So we break these promises again and again and slowly we forget to apologize for them. We make more excuses for why it was o.k. to break them and we try to justify our actions and eventually we begin to believe our own lies and our sin no longer appears sinful to us. When we do this we are no longer taking small steps, but rather sprinting away from the path God intended for us.
This is the problem with the attitude that is taking over our society, the attitude that we can do whatever we want without any regret or any consequences. Eventually those actions will come back and kick us in the butt and by the time we realize what we did, it could be too late. Maximus says it best in The Gladiator when he tells his men, “What we do in this life, echoes in eternity.”
So if what we do today influences us forever, we better make sure we are doing the right thing, not always the thing that makes us happy at the moment. The problem is figuring out what the right thing is and what the right path to take it.
In Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire cat (personally my favorite character in the book) tells Alice, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” –meaning without a goal, you don’t know where you will go. We have to have a goal. Without a goal in sight or mind, there is no telling where we will end up because we will not base our actions on anything substantial—everything will be based off of our immediate and present emotions—and there is not one single earthly object that will make us ultimately as happy as the path to heaven will.