Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kids and Their Imaginations

Ella loves all things Narnia. She isn't obsessed (yet!), but she asked to buy "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" with her Christmas money, and she has been watching it and its predecessors ever since. As I was watching the original today, I began to think about the process of writing such a story. C.S. Lewis is quite obviously a genius, and his background in medieval literature and preoccupation with mythology obviously had an impact on his work. Still, there's something that Lewis and his friend Tolkien tapped into in a distinctive way. I began thinking about the way that Lewis captured childhood imagination with unmatched artistry.

What is it about children that makes them imagine such grand things? Everything that they see can instantly become a part of a mythical adventure that only they can comprehend. I began to consider the possibility that children are more acutely aware of the fact that something is missing in this reality. As they grow older, they become more accustomed to the absurdity of normal, and they slowly lose their grip on the truth within their myths: There is so much more!

As I read the book of Judges, I found myself questioning such a reality that could house such horrific ideas and such completely broken people. Of course, I am quickly snapped into an equally broken present time, which brings me back to the idea that it isn't children who live in a fairy tale. We are the ones who deny what is so utterly obvious to the younger members of our society. There is something more, something greater, something more real than can be perceived. There is a central part of our reality that demands to be discovered, not by touch or sight or sound, but by the inner person that hungers for something more, something complicated, wonderful, inexhaustible.

Maybe children just like to play pretend because they're so small and their minds haven't learned enough about the world to keep them from wandering. Or... Maybe... they're just holding on to the intrinsic desire of the human heart to return to the greatness of the unfallen glory in which we were meant to reside. I'm not sure which is more likely, but there's still a piece of that child in me that begs to ask Ella's favorite question:


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