3.27.2010

King Edmund the Just, Lent & My Daughter's Imagination

We started reading the Chronicles of Narnia to G a few months ago-I've been looking forward to this stage in her life for quite a while. I vaguely remember reading the first couple of Narnia books as a child; they were definitely enjoyable, but it wasn't until I was an adult that I read the series completely.
Now, they are the epitome of the comfort read. I read them in between other books, as a sort of palate cleanser. Cheap paperback copies litter the house and car, and B & I dip into them so often it's hard to remember which one we're currently re-reading. We collect different tattered paperback editions of the series, own numerous 'lender copies' and were up in arms over the decision to re-issue the books in a new order. (I think I've actually been quoted in saying,"The Magician's Nephew first?.... what, are they on crack?" ) We've made a couple of special trips (okay, 3) to Headingtion, outside Oxford to visit Lewis' church and its etched glass Narnia window. Yes, I bought a mug. And a keychain. But I resisted the Aslan bobble-head, and the Lewis and Tolkien Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots.
Bedtime Stories
I love the night time routine around here: bath, book, bed. Sometimes honored grown-ups are allowed to read the book du jeur, but most often it's one of us, on our bed. A nice end to the day, even when I'm so tired it's hard not to nod off between paragraphs. 
So with Narnia, each evening we'd read another chapter or two and we soon plowed right through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as well as Prince Caspian, the second of the series. She seemed to be tracking with the over-all story, although it was hard to tell. (She is only 5.) At any rate she ran around for days shouting, "Soup and celery!" ala Trumpkin, the red dwarf  in Prince Caspian.  For better or for worse, we've shown her the recent Narnia movie as well as the BBC Wonderworks productions of Prince Caspian, and Dawn Treader. The Wonderworks productions are just so laughably bad. "Mom!" she said, in an accusatory voice, "Trufflehunter the Badger looks like a person dressed up in a skunk suit." And you know, that's exactly what it was.
King Edmund the Just
So last Saturday G awoke from a dream in which she saved Edmund, the youngest but one of the Pevensie children, who are featured in the first 3 Narnia books. In her dream, Edmund is being pursued by monsters, and she (G) fights them off. Ever since then, Edmund has been her constant companion. They go everywhere together, occasionally joined by the rest of the Pevensie children. She takes him to school, they get their hair "prettied" together, she baked him a sand cake for his birthday. A couch cushion became a stand-in Edmund for a while, and she left him her little paper bag puppet for entertainment when we had to go out. "I told him where the invisible Band-Aids are, in case he needs one. They're easier to find than the real ones." In the car the other day she told us we needed to be quiet so that she could have some 'alone time' to think about Edmund. I've heard her sort of mutter under her breath, "Come on, Edmund, let's go!" on her way to wash up or play outside. And she keeps repeating the refrain, "I love Edmund because his family loves him. They forgive him, and I forgive him."
Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time
The interesting thing about all of this is that it is preceded by a conversation we had on the way to pick up B from work. Winding our way down La Madrona Drive, through the leafy twists and turns of Carbonera we began to talk about heaven. She also wanted to talk about Aslan and about Jesus and the parallels between the two. I ended up talking to her about how Aslan knew the Deeper Magic that said that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's place, the Table (used as a place of execution) would crack and Death itself would start working backwards. This was all very heady stuff, but she kept asking about it. So I told her that just like Edmund deserved to have consequences under the rules of Narnia, after betraying his family to the White Witch,  we deserve our own consequences for our own acts of betrayal under the rules of our own world. And our consequence is being apart from God forever. We talk a lot about consequences in our house, so I thought it might translate. G usually gets a 'Time Away' in her room; I guess I was eluding to the idea that the consequence of sin was a sort of eternal, Cosmic Time Away. I talked about how Jesus stepped in, just like Aslan, and did this startling thing for us. That we're like Edmund, undeserving of this great gift of forgiveness that has been given to us through Jesus' actions that first Easter. And when we tell God we are sorry for the wrong things we've done and ask Jesus for forgiveness and help, He will come to our rescue. "I think we need to pray that prayer right now, Mommy," she told me. So we did.
 The Roar of Love
As it is in most of my conversations with G about life, the universe and everything I feel like I am tripping along, just barely one step ahead of her.  It is so good to have to break theology down into words that make sense to a 5 year old; to purposefully strip my language of cliche phrases and unnecessary words. And to be able to talk about these things over a long period of time, in little fits and starts, instead of one pedantic outburst in a Sunday School classroom. I am honored to be here with her through this time, and I pray that her little imagination and spirit are infused with joy as she reads on through this seminal series by C.S. Lewis. And that she will continue in the great love affair that sweeps up all mankind into the arms of God.

11 comments:

Katie Hund said...

AH lady--I love this! I love that you are treasuring this process (as you should) and stepping up to the role as teacher and pastor of little G. You are exemplifying how parents can use those teachable moments throughout the day to teach their kids in ways that no church class or sermon could ever do.

On a related note, I always had the dream of doing a series with the chronicles of narnia for kids, in which the story would be read, readers theater style, and intermixed with biblical stories that relate--letting the kids make the connections in their minds.

maybe one day!!

Anonymous said...

Katie- that sounds really fun. I would love to brainstorm that with you sometime!

Rosa's hubby

rosa said...

thanks, Katie. You know, after I wrote this post, I told G that I had written about her and Edmund on my blog and she said, "Oh. Well, I didn't want to tell everybody about that. But it's okay-not very many people read your blog, right?"
"Ummmm.....right!" I told her.
Oh dear.

Mum said...

It's so clear-Mothering is Kingdom work.

rosa said...

Thanks mum! And you did a good job with us.

A recovering perfectionist said...

Love this. I've been thinking about the whole idea of breaking things down for kids recently too...suddenly you realise how much/little you actually know. It's no mean feat translating complex concepts into child-friendly language & concepts. Enjoy the journey! :) x

Diedra said...

So lovely...
I've been thinking about reading the Narnia Series to C and B as well. Now I am inspired to do so.
I love CS Lewis, and the Narnia series have been my companions since I was very young.

Love that we have that in common, and would love to go to Lewis's church. D

rosa said...

One of my favorite things about visiting Holy Trinity Church is that we met some old folks who knew Lewis. "Always came late, always left early, always off to the pub" was their comment on him.

Blessed said...

thanks for taking the time to write this all out, Rosa. Someday G will be glad you wrote about it to save the ideas. . . : )

**Mrs. Carroll** said...

How confounded was Gracie when she tasted Turkish Delight. "How could Edmund love Turkish Delight?!"

rosa said...

I know. I had the exactly the same reaction! It tastes like soap!

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.