Friday, December 31, 2010

The Glorious Mish-Mash

I've just finished reading C. S. Lewis's The Last Battle, the final installment of The Chronicles of Narnia, and I'm thankful.

I'm thankful for the wonderful jumble of images and stories that Lewis strings together--the ones he combined in ways that offended his highly meticulous friend and co-writer, J. R. R. Tolkien. (What comes to mind first is the sudden emergence of Father Christmas in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.) Ultimately--despite all appearances to the contrary, the Chronicles ends well with The Last Battle.

I'm reminded that Lewis was a Renaissance and Medieval scholar (although he had some misgivings about the very existence of a "renaissance" in western Europe as a discrete period), a time when images, symbols, and stories ran together in a crazy potpourri.

I'm remembering that life really is a mish-mash, just like the Middle Ages reminded us. Have you ever been to New York City's Cloisters museum? It's a wonderful reconstruction of three cloisters. In those transcendent medieval quadrangles,  each column is different. Their glorious mish-mash contrasts marked from the rational, homogenizing similarity of the Enlightenment.

I'm grateful because it draws me back to the reality of life--it's never too rational or too uniform, and yet somehow it's unified by the will of our good God. It's this God that promises us victory and meaning at the last.

That's why I love the glorious mish-mash narratives of C. S. Lewis especially on this final day of 2010, which is also my birthday, when I seek to make sense of the year that's passed. Too often things appear as a variegated jumble of experiences and moments, but I trust that God holds them together the glorious mish-mash of life.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Happy Birthday!