Of Mice & Marshwiggles – Day 27 – Changing
Setting the Scene: At the end of the Last Battle all the children who have ever visited Narnia are gathered together – that is except one of them…..
‘My sister Susan,’ answered Peter shortly and gravely, ‘is no longer a friend of Narnia.’
‘Yes,’ said Eustace, ‘and whenever you’ve tried to get her to come and talk about Narnia or do anything about Narnia, she says, `What wonderful memories you have! Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.’‘
‘Oh Susan!’ said Jill. ‘She’s interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up.’
‘Grown-up, indeed,’ said the Lady Polly. ‘I wish she would grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she’ll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one’s life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can.’
The Last Battle – Chapter 12 – Through the Stable Door (© C.S. Lewis)
Not all change is good. The story of Susan Pevensie at the end of the Narnia Chronicles is not so much one about changing but about turning her back on all the love she has received, all the adventures she has been safely guided through and the future promise which Aslan held out to her – to be a Queen forever.
Surely this would be every girl’s dream? To be assured of her place in a palace. To know that she is forever special to someone very important. To not have to worry about being anything other than the princess she was born to be? But this seems to not be so for Susan whose interest is in ‘nothing except nylons and lipstick’ or, if she were a modern girl perhaps ‘Selfies and Botox’. Perhaps she hoped that, instead of growing and changing, she would remain some mythical perfect age? Polly’s words are real for many people (not just fashion conscious girls) ‘I wish she would grow up!’
One of the lessons each of us must learn in the Christian life is that to grow and change also means to die.
We cannot cling onto the things we think make us more attractive for else we might lose hold of the One who makes us beautiful. The lesson of God’s grace is this; God does not love us because we are pretty – we become pretty because God loves us! When we covet the beauty which God bestows on us and choose to bask in the reflection of God’s glory instead of constantly seeking God’s face, our features will dim and whither and eventually we too will be ‘no longer a friend of Narnia’.
How do we resist this temptation? How do we make sure that our change is always from ‘one degree of glory to another’ instead of that of the world ‘whose glory is fading away’? It all depends on which way we look doesn’t it? Do we spend time putting on lipstick before the mirror of self-regard or do we choose with ‘unveiled face’ to turn towards the glory of God in whose sight nothing is common, useless or ugly?
Save me, Lord, from the distraction
of trying to impress others,
and from the dangers of having done so.
Help me to enjoy praise for work well done,
and then to pass it on to you.
Teach me to learn from criticism,
and give me the wisdom
not to put myself at the centre of the universe.
in ‘The Book of a Thousand Prayers’ © Angela Ashwin – Compiler
Have a spring clean of your clothes and cosmetics, study and tool-shed. We may not need to get rid of an overabundance of ‘nylons and lipstick’ but each of us can find some things which we keep purely for vanity’s sake which would be much more useful – and less of a danger to our spiritual health – in the hands of someone who needs them.
Pray for those who are in the fashion industry and feel trapped into a lifestyle where value is based on appearance before character and being created in God’s image.
Pray for those suffering from eating disorders and those who have a poor picture of themselves.
© Andrew Dotchin 2018