I thought I could handle an unlidded coffee cup. I thought I could, so I filled it to the brim, my old, stainless steel mug that holds a whoppin’ lot of coffee, which God knows I need in the morning. And I decided not to affix the black, screw-on lid. Just for a moment, you understand. Just long enough to get the coffee back to my desk where I’d add the lid and avert the crisis.
Of course, you can see the foreshadowing, and you know this is the part in the horror movie when you scream at the angelic teenager with waist long hair and perfect skin as she foolishly makes her way across the darkened yard to the tool shed. “DO NOT INVESTIGATE THAT NOISE,” you yell, because you’ve seen this scenario before. “DO NOT OPEN THAT CREAKY SHED DOOR!”
You already know I knocked all 16 ounces of coffee over because that girl will always, ALWAYS go into the shed and get her head lopped off by the axe. It will always happen. It was predestined before the dawn of time. Which is why the coffee tsunami washed over the desk and onto my keyboard and sloshed to the floor, and I spent the next 30 minutes sopping up the spill and trying to wick coffee from between the keys this morning. A typical morning, actually; mess and madness to think I can do adult things like drink without a lid.
I’m sitting outside on the back patio now. It’s evening and hot for our valley in temperate Oregon. My eyelids are sweaty, my legs are scratchy, and I’m content to watch my grubby nine-year-old on the rickety swing, going as high as he can in a pendulum rhythm over the patchy grass. I’m in my pajamas and the wind is blowing wildly off the hill, whipping my hair and stinging my face.
The wind rushes around me, unrestrained and uninterested in moderation, fulfilled in its intensity, and I keep thinking about the word bewilder. Bewilder, which means to baffle, mystify, bemuse and perplex. Bewilder, which keeps running through my head as “be wilder,” instead. Be wilder. Be WILDER. The wind rushes around me unbridled, unchecked, and I’m jealous of its freedom and its ease with itself, envious that it knows who it is and the role it plays in the universe and does so without wondering if its strength and force and power are too much, too loud, too bold, or too free. Bewildered is what I so often feel, and like I must fight the fetters and chains that tell me to be more quiet, more appropriate, more complacent, less mouthy. But, oh, be wilder is where I long to be, like the wind. Be WILDER and free.
I laid in bed last night with a kid who’s reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for the first time, after fighting and fighting me on it. “There’s NOTHING in this house to read,” he said while Narnia sat on the shelf waiting for him to find the back of the wardrobe and feel the pine needles on his face and discover the lamppost and meet the faun. I knew it was there; I’ve visited before — over and over, actually — but he would hear none of it until I tired of his whining and made him read the first three chapters. “If you hate it after that,” I said, “I’ll stop bugging you about it,” by which I meant I’d continue bugging him about it after I took a teeny, tiny break. But he read those chapters and couldn’t put it down, so I was triumphant, and last night he whispered so no one else would hear — a secret just for those of us who’ve lived in Narnia — “Mom. Listen. This is IMPORTANT. Aslan is on the move.”
Aslan is on the move, he said. And I whispered back, “Aslan IS on the move, Cai. Perhaps he’s already landed!” And, while Cai continued to read with huge, wide eyes because magic was happening right in front of him, I smiled and wept silently because magic was happening in front of me, too. The magic of a child in Narnia, yes, absolutely, and also the reminder that Good is on the move on behalf of the oppressed; that we live in troubled times but endless winter isn’t endless, after all.
Aslan is on the move, and he’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.
Be wilder. I hear it on the wind.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course Aslan isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
We live in troubled times, and we’re troubled inside, too. Longing and longing to be free. And to fight for good. And to be wilder. But we spill coffee and make terrific messes and slog through the mundane and feel stuck, too. Like it’s all madness and mess and endless winter.
And I needed the reminder more than I can say.
Aslan is on the move.
“Will the others see you too?” asked Lucy.
“Certainly not at first,” said Aslan. “Later on, it depends.”
“But they won’t believe me!” said Lucy.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Lion” image credit tiverylucky via freedigitalphotos.net
18 responses to “Bewilder. Be Wilder. And Aslan is on the Move.”
<3 this was WILD and freeing, love and thank you for sharing so much. From such tiny seeds laces networks of love<3
Beth, I just discovered your blog. How could I have missed it before? Your writing is so beautiful! Yes, I am proud of you! I am giving Teddy a copy of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” for Christmas – if I can manage to be patient, and wait another month.
This is STILL exactly what I needed to hear tonight. I’m so bewildered, but Aslan is on the move. Thanks, Beth.
You have given me hope. My son also has defied the reading of this book. I used the 3 chapter deal (brilliant!) last night and later asked his opinion. He likes it better than the movie but says he’s not hooked yet. Uh-huh. Kinda like the grandson in The Princess Bride. He’s allowing me to keep on reading if I want to.
Oh yes. Aslan is on the move! And this makes my heart dance with joy.
I have a quote on my Facebook from The Silver Chair:
I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it.
It goes on to say “I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”
Stay wild, Beth. For Narnia! For Aslan!
This is very extremely good. Thank you.
Be wilder…made me cry, your writing is so beautiful.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m76wSTnwZAk (Aslan by Kendall Payne)
Beth, thank you today for the reminder that good is out there. Good, and magic, and wild-whipping wind as a child plays.
PS +1 for reading it as an Asian on the move.
After I got to the part about Narnia, I realized that I’d read the title of this post wrong, and there is no Asian on the move. Note to self: no reading without glasses.
Those books, and that in particular are among my all-time favorites. When my oldest was a very young and very precocious reader she came running downstairs (after bed-time) sobbing because Aslan was dead. I told her to keep reading, and finally convinced her to do so, after much more sobbing. Not sure that she got the allegory, but it kind of nailed it home for me again.
Be wilder! My new mantra. My 13 year old will be thrilled.
I bugged my kid to read a series of books we had on our shelf forever….and had heard, we have nothing to read, many times. Kid goes to library an our library lady recommends it ONCE, and the kid checks it out and brings home the library copies WHEN WE HAVE THEM ON OUR SHELF WAITING FOR YOU TO READ! At least I could say, I told you so, when in fact he did love them like I had said he would!
I love this post! I don’t know where my worn and tattered copy of this book is so I just went out and bought it for my nine year old. I can’t wait for her to read it now!
Your writing is stunning. This is such a beautiful post. Of course, the coffee all over the keyboard wasn’t so beautiful, but everything else… just beautiful.
Beautiful! There is so much good still out there, and we must remember it. You’re it, Beth, for one. And yes – let’s be wilder. I’m being wilder today by getting my hair dyed – multi-coloured, rainbow hair – even if other people think it’s silly, I WANT it, it’s my little bit of wild showing through. Kate Bush came on the radio this morning and sang ‘take my shoes off, and throw them in the lake’ and I thought yes! I want to do that too! But for now I’ll settle with rainbow hair. Thank you for putting what’s in my heart out on paper.
Yes! Thank you!
Oh, Beth, this is EXACTLY what I need to hear tonight to calm my heart. Thank you.