On the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel is my wedding anniversary. Life seems to be a dance and a battle. On this day, I find myself longing for place, for home. As it happens, I am also reading The Narnian by Alan Jacobs. Jacobs talks about how C.S. Lewis was on the verge of a physical breakdown. He was a caretaker of both his brother and his “mother.” He was teaching, lecturing, writing correspondence to his many fans and writing. It was at this most difficult time that he started writing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Throughout this biography about Lewis, there is a sense of longing for home, for delight and wonder. Lewis finally poured his longings and sense of home into fiction. He wrote the Narniad for himself. It was a process of healing for him.
With that said, I am also thinking about my father’s death–because of The Narnian, but I am also reminded of my wedding anniversary. My wife’s brother would die 10 months later and my father would die less than fourteen months later.
Alan Jacobs shares about Lewis’ loss of his mother at such a young age… “where they live is never quite home.” Lewis wrote, “With my mother’s death, all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable , disappeared from my life.” Stability and reliability seemed to disappear in his life. Happiness wasn’t absent.
This is a blog and only reveals so much about the person writing this blog. Usually in the fall, I get more thoughtful adding pessimism. But I have felt a longing for settlement, for home. This is probably why I like Jon Foreman’s music so much, he’s always longing for place, feeling like he’s traveled but never arrived. Always seeking home. Are we to always feel this sense of exile? Is this just a personality thing? Is there ever a sense of long-term contentment in this life?
I feel the same way Lewis did when he lost his mother. It seems since my father’s death, a sense of security, reliability and stability was lost. (Or maybe I’m just moody right now).
Lewis would say this longing for home or a place that is not here is longing for heaven that is innate in all of us. Some church fathers would say the same. This seeking of home can never be fulfilled because this isn’t our home. Of course there is a sense of place in a community, but I mainly feel like a wayfarer, a pilgrim rather than a resident or citizen.
Yes, I have a tendency for escapism, which isn’t Christian, we are not Platonists longing to escape the material world, yet there is an “other” place that is similar yet more splendid than what we know here.
On this feast day of St. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Lord, instill delight and wonder and a longing for the mind of God, to seek the face of God, to seek the kingdom of God, Jesus Christ. In His will is our peace.