Growing up I never really enjoyed the third novel of any series I read. Harry Potter and LOTR changed that for me but I can trace this disdain to one book, The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. For some reason I never got this book and since then I haven't read it ever again. I have completely skipped over it when I re-read the series because I had made the decision back in 2nd grade that this book wasn't really a part of the series.
Well, a while ago, my step-dad got a copy of the audio CD's of the entire chronicles and I got around to uploading them onto my ipod about 2 months ago. Since then I have been re-listening to them and once I got done with the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, I was just about to skip ahead to Prince Caspian as usuall when I decided to give it another chance.
The following is a part of the book that I just heard this evening on the way back from Scott's party and I thought I would share it with you.
"I can't see you at all," said Shasta, after staring very hard. Then (for an even more
terrible idea had come into his head) he said, almost in a scream, "You're not - not
something dead, are you? Oh please - please do go away. What harm have I ever done you? Oh, I am the unluckiest person in the whole world!"
Once more he felt the warm breath of the Thing on his hand and face. "There," it said, "that is not the breath of a ghost. Tell me your sorrows."
Shasta was a little reassured by the breath: so he told how he had never known his real father or mother and had been brought up sternly by the fisherman. And then he told the story of his escape and how they were chased by lions and forced to swim for their lives; and of all their dangers in Tashbaan and about his night among the tombs and how the beasts howled at him out of the desert. And he told about the heat and thirst of their desert journey and how they were almost at their goal when another lion chased them and wounded Aravis. And also, how very long it was since he had had anything to eat.
"I do not call you unfortunate," said the Large Voice.
"Don't you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?" said Shasta.
"There was only one lion," said the Voice.
"What on earth do you mean? I've just told you there were at least two the first night,
"There was only one: but he was swift of foot."
"How do you know?"
"I was the lion." And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice
continued. "I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who
comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you."
Now what you have to understand about me is that growing up my mom taught me to look for the deeper meaning in all writing and in everything really, but in particular from Lewis' writings. So when I listened to this I immediately likened it unto myself and to Christ. Now I have't finished the book yet and my memory on it is faint but I sense that Shasta is going to end up being a long lost prince who would have died had it not been for Aslan (read:Christ's) pushings and guidance. Perhaps it is because of Scott's post on the Lord's hand in all things, but I also can't help but take a look at my life and see that even when I have thought my life is not as intended, or that I am feeling down, or like I am the most unluckiest person in the world and see that it is all a part of the guiding hand of Christ.
There have been times when I have thought that my life has been horrible, that everything is going wrong, that nothing good is coming my way and instead all I have is pain and anguish. However, what if Lewis' writing is right and all things, even those that we percieve to frighten us, is for our benefit?
What if my childhod house that resides in my current ward, my parents divorce, my scoutmasters calling that enabled him to be my bishop, my former bishop who dealt with my families divorce and got to know us each very well, his calling of stake president, the fact that my ward has so many mission presidents, my stake many GA's and Apostles, my time in Texas in which I was exposed to non-bubble culture and liberal political thought, my time on my own my senior year of high school drowning myself in myriad activities, my fencing and the people I have met there, my time at BYU and the people I met that helped me and that I have helped, the timing of proposition 8 and the political climate, the blogging world's MoHosphere, my brother's choice of a Politcal Science major that made me follow suit, the Internship that I took in DC following my brother's footsteps, the timing of the internship to correlate with my 1 year anneversary of leaving BYU, the people I met out in DC, the experiences I had there that led me to come out in a big way, my attempted suicide, my counseling sessions, my scripture analysis, my readings of nibley as a child, even my hatred for The Horse and His Boy until now has been the simple guiding hand of Christ? Afterall, "... in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments."
Perhaps I was meant to understand that His hand is guiding everything this fully at this exact time for a very specific reason. Afterall tomorrow morning/this morning, I will be meeting with my Bishop and Stake President together for the first time in almost 1 year and 9 months. Perhaps I am meant to know that His hand is guiding every step and clearing the path shaping my movements because of His great love for me and because he knows precisely what I need when due to his infinite attonement. This gives me great comfort but also has given me a mantle of responsibility. I need to make the most of what I have been given everyday to help others because if I sit and focus on myself each day then how can I be a tool to help Christ shape another's path if all I do is sit in bed or remove myself from play?
It is amazing how often I have felt as if I understand the Atonement and then I get hit with this realization that my knowledge is small and that I am always in the need for more light and more knowledge. Perhaps having this knowledge I can then share it with others and be more empathetic and sympathetic to others who are struggling with the complexities of life, so that I can teach them better in some capacity later in life and right now.
I hope that I will never lose this perspective and will instead keep strong the principle that their are no coincidences and that each experience in life, each bump in the road, each chance encounter and each person that enters into our lives can and has taught us something. Who knows perhaps the French Proverb that I heard recently in some movie or show I watched recently that I can't remember, or perhaps it is my early obsession with the greeks and their belief in prophecy, or any "random" coincidence of thought but perhaps "One meets his destiny often on the road he takes to avoid it." Perhaps there is a place for everything and everything is in its place and we are precisely where we are meant to be and the right stimuli have been given at the right time to get us to where we are by choice. Perhaps, just Perhaps.
Needless to say, The Horse and His Boy is now one of my favorite Narnian books, however, Edmund is still my favorite character as of yet.