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