No story exists to the point of becoming treasured by its readers unless it portrays the struggle between good and evil. In the Narnia series, we see this struggle no more alive that between the inhabitants of Calormen and Narnia. While Narnia is depicted to be a country of freedom and reinvention; we see Calormen to be an empire that is ruled with an iron fist of a totalitarianism.
But when we give a second glance at the Narnia series we find across the pages of The Horse and his Boy a single Calormen girl of ruling nobility fleeing her home city in hopes to escape the temptation of power and control. Promised in marriage to a cruel and repugnant man, she intended to take her life only to be stopped by the head of her mare. Not only does the horse step in between her and the blade, but she speaks. We learn from the mare (Hwin) that her rider (Aravis) has more to offer this life yet and it would be a tragedy to end her life.
As Hwin explains herself to Aravis, she invites her into the knowledge of her homeland of Narnia. With interests sparked, Aravis answers the call to search for Narnia with Hwin.
As these allied spirits venture on, they meet up with a servant boy (Shasta) and a war horse (Bree). The four agree to carry on together in their conjoint pursuit: Narnia. As we turn each page though, we begin to see the importance of answering the call correctly.
Aravis was born into royalty. Her father held a high position in the empire of Calormen and worked to secure a similar livelihood for his daughter. In many countries today arranged marriages still take place and girls find themselves without a choice in the matter. But as we already know, Aravis chose to escape this arrangement. She saw that she could have a life in a land that valued individuality and dignity; that embraced outsiders as friends. But time after time we are provided instance of her inability to let go of her past. In fact she often uses it as a weapon against her absconders; demanding an air of nobility that no longer had to be given.
As her tale reaches its climax, we see the 4 cohorts making a mad dash across the desert to reach Archenland in time to warn of an impending danger. But with everything in life, we need to be held responsible for our past actions: good or bad. What appears to be intended for encouragement (Aslan chasing the horses and their riders; conveniently scraping Aravis back with his claws) is later found out to be a reinforcement. A reminder of good intentions gone bad. You see, in order for Aravis to escape her city, she drugged her step mothers slave. We later learn, through Aslan’s appearance to Aravis, that he scarred her back so she would know the pain she caused this slave. A pain she already had known at the hands of her step-mother.
At the end of her story, Aravis reconciles her privileged past for the freedom of Narnia/Archenland.
“I'm sorry I've been such a pig. But I did change…”- Aravis- HHB
The character of Aravis teaches us 2 simple lessons.
First, sometimes you have to give up the good in life for the better. Once Aravis transformed her mindset from privileged princess to repentant foreigner she was granted a place in eternity.
Secondly, God uses the broken to spread the deepest messages. The scars on Aravis back will remind her of the journey she took to ensure that Narnia and Archenland would survive an attack from Calormen.
It was brought by evil to be used as a weapon for evil. It was restored by good to become a beacon of good. A metal bar from a London lamp post entered into the land of Narnia on the same day that it was created. Its carrier refused to let go of power in her home land that had seen her standing alone at the end with her sister in opposition.
But when the bar was unleashed upon the good in Narnia, it failed. Not only did it fail, but it was transformed into more than its original use in London. A single flame lamp that burned indefinitely night and day. It became the first real landmark of the land of Narnia and many years later met 4 inquisitive children as they stepped from refurbished wood into the woods of Narnia.
Beloved are the Chronicles of Narnia to many individuals young and old. I became enthralled with the magic within when I was young and from there I have read the series at least every other year. While many find the introductory stories of Narnia (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian) to be their favorites; I always enjoyed rereading The Horse and his Boy. It’s a story of reinvention. Lewis’s characters live on the pages as a testament to what can be if we choose to reclaim what was lost. But Narnia was not meant for one person or one dream. It was meant to be series of lessons that can be learned to create awareness. By choosing the “Narnian Way” the adventurous are taking on the dignified task of becoming more faithful and self-reliant at the same time. A task many take a life time to learn.
In this blog series, I want to approach the characters in Narnia who reveal this “Way”. Any journey that is taken needs a Call, a Choice and a Reinvention. Upon successful completion of these steps, we are introduced to a Principled individual. A character who has taken on all the best parts of the word he lives in plus the inspiration from God.
So if you ever find yourself being pulled into another land (whether by a horn, a magical ring or the urge to walk through a wardrobe) and you find yourself in a forest lit only by a London lamp; it might be time to consider a reinvention.
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind."
Recently I have had the opportunity to be corrected on how I respond to people when they ask how I am. My go to up till recently has been to say "oh, very busy, but good." Apparently this isn't the best way to convey what it is that you indulge your time with. The article I read described how a shift from the standard "I'm busy" response to the more articulate "I've been very productive" can really open up a conversation and provide more substance to you as a person. So I took the challenge and the results are in!
1. My conversations have greater yield to them.
By this I mean that when I meet someone for coffee or see someone in passing, I am better able to communicate with them by not just stating how "busy" I am. We all are busy. But I intentionally only commit to things I am passionate about. This way I am best able to volunteer my talents and measure productivity for the person or organization. Now most people don't know this. When I was saying that I was "busy", people assumed that I just was over committed. But people were more willing to continue the conversation when I talked about productivity.
2. It has challenged me to listen to my tone of voice more.
When I would say, "Oh, so busy" subconsciously I would make my voice sound tired and worn. Since obviously this was not true, I would grow irritated with myself afterwards. When I started the challenge of saying "I've been very productive", I gave myself the opportunity to let the excitement and passion in my voice stand out! This also helped the following conversation to be much more engaging and uplifting as I wasn't (unintentionally) seeking sympathy by my tone.
3. Credibility was added to the projects I was a part of.
When I met with people, rather than just stating that I was "busy" and layering it in a tired or worn tone, I now was excited about the completion or duration of the work I was a part of. This has added credibility to me as a spokesperson of these organizations. No one wants to hear a 4 word, prepared elevator speech that begs sympathy from its listener. Friends, families and investors want to hear the excitement in your voice. They want to see the pictures that you will paint with your wordplay. They want to see you have firsthand experience and know how to articulate it convincingly. Ultimately your goal is to get them excited enough in what you are doing that they wish to be a part of it as well. As a person you have upped your substance and the credibility of those you work with.
So how do you manage the "Art of being crazy productive"? Simple. STOP above all else using the word BUSY. Next, listen to your tone of voice during greetings or conversation and change anything that isn't totally honest in it. Lastly, by doing the above two steps you will find that you are more credible. With less time spent being tired and brief, you can now create vibrant conversations about the organizations you work with.
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind"