“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.”
~C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
“There is a place called ‘heaven’ where the good here unfinished is completed; and where the stories unwritten, and the hopes unfulfilled, are continued. We may laugh together yet.”
Well, dear friends, we have come to the end of February once more. Thank you so much for joining me in this month-long celebration of fantasy fiction, I hope you had as much fun with it as I did. Last year, I finished up the celebration with a few thoughts and quotes about Happy Endings, and this year I would like to continue that vein and take it a little further. The reason I love the happy endings that fantasy often provides is because they remind me of the ultimate Happy Ending in store for Christians when Christ returns, when sin and Satan are ultimately defeated and are no more. I can appreciate a sad ending, but there are plenty of sad endings in life as it is. In general, I prefer it when a story points me towards the ultimate happy ending. When it whispers a reminder to me that, (in the words of one of my all-time favorite songs), “This is not the end, there is so much more: / streets of gold and silver shores…. / and peace.”
One of the biggest reasons I love reading fantasy is that the stories written within this genre remind me that this world is not my home. In them, I get to read about far-off, imaginary, completely amazing places that are not at all like Earth. Reading about Middle Earth and Narnia and Prydain and Hogwarts, and writing about Tellurae Aquaous and Aom-igh and Llycaelon… these places fill my soul with a deep longing for a place that cannot be found here on earth. A place that is home in a much deeper sense than I have ever experienced (and this is coming from someone whose homes have all be wonderful).
As a child, I spent an inordinate amount of time attempting to imagine myself into Narnia. I looked everywhere: through secret doors, in hollow trees, around corners, in the woods, under my bed… but I never did actually find it. Not finding it hasn’t stopped me from looking, though. Whenever we stay anywhere new, I have this incurable and unquenchable desire to open up every door, every closet, and peek inside. Perhaps one day I will find fir trees and the distant light of a lamp-post peeking back at me.
But I keep looking.
The disappointment of not finding or discovering Narnia or being able to make my way there has stayed with me my entire life. It is an ache that can’t quite be assuaged. Now that I’m older, I understand that it wasn’t really “Narnia” I was looking for at all. It was Heaven. An altogether otherworldly, beautiful, perfect, dare I say “magical” place that cannot be recreated or enjoyed here on Earth, because Earth is fallen and Heaven is inherently the opposite of fallen. Fantasy reminds me that this world is not my home, Heaven is.
Perhaps C.S. Lewis said it best: “The fact that our heart yearns for something Earth can’t supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.”