What does a fierce dragon, pink tennis shoes, and a pebble have in common?
As we know, a dragon is a familiar part of a fantasy story. The dragon may be evil as in The Hobbit, or it may be a kindred spirit as in the recent Eragon, but in both stories, when a dragon is present, you don’t have to look too far for adventure.
My two young daughters put on their pink tennis shoes to leave the house while singing a song about going on an adventure. They never have to look too far to find one. For months now, I joined in with the singing, thinking, “Yep. They are on an adventure. How lucky for them that a trip to the park, the store, the doctor is an adventure. In a few years, they’ll start reading The Chronicles of Narnia and other books, and they’ll see what an adventure really is. I can’t wait to show them!”
It’s a bit ironic that all along they were showing me the adventure.
I just wasn’t seeing it.
Then a thought that kept coming back.
What if our little trips were adventures for me too?
What if I had as much fun at the grocery store as they did? What if I had their joy and excitement for every little thing?
What if their adventures were also mine?
I pondered this for a while, arguing with myself (something I do often). The books I grew up reading were full of quests and daring feats. The heroes battled giants, climbed gigantic mountains, wrestled bears into submission, and flew on dragons. And although they sometimes felt unworthy, or had lot to learn, or were from a humble upbringing, they saved worlds and defeated the strongest of foes.
How could my life come close to that?
I’ve done my share of crazy things and gone on a few adventures, but for now that phase of life is over. With three small children, my life is an endless cycle of cleaning, laundry, and dishes. Adventures don’t happen anymore, not on the way to ballet class, no matter how much you sing, “Here we go on an adventure…”
And so I was mistaken.
Remember what Aslan said to Edmund and Lucy at the end of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader?
This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
In other words, the whole purpose of them (and us with them) going to Narnia was to know God better.
I understood that as a kid. Aslan is like Jesus. Know Jesus better. And I tried (and still try).
But I missed one important aspect of Aslan that we rarely talk about.
Who called the children into Narnia? Who called them to their adventures? Who fought with them, guided them, saved them, and gave them courage?
Aslan helped the Pevensie children battle the White Witch. Aslan sent Peter and Edmund to deal with Miraz while he took Lucy and Susan to wake the Old Narnia. In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan whispers courage to Lucy when they were facing their greatest nightmares. Eustace and Jill face an underground enemy with Aslan’s words to guide them.
All of their adventures in Narnia was preparation for adventures in this world.
The true message of Narnia was to draw the reader to Christ, to see God in a slightly different way. To see life in a different way.
And, yes, I see in a new way how Jesus sacrificed himself for us. I understand how mercy and love triumphs. I even get how eating Turkish Delight can be a bad thing.
I saw all this as a child. It took being a mother and growing up to see the deeper lesson.
Jesus Christ calls us to adventure in this world.
The real adventure lies in front of you.
Dirty diapers? Mountains of laundry? Dirty dishes piling up in the sink?
How can that equal adventure?
If I look on my Facebook feed, I see how I define adventure. Traveling to exotic places, climbing mountains, swimming in the oceans.
I’m just stuck with my dirty diapers (well, not mine, but my babies’ dirty diapers), laundry, and dishes.
But at this point in my life, dirty diapers, laundry and dishes are part of my adventure.
But they’re no fun.
Neither is watching Aslan die for your brother’s mistakes. Neither is trudging all the way to Mordor. Neither is eating cram.
We forget that adventures, especially in fantasy, are filled with things that aren’t fun. Oh, yes, swords are cool. But to actually use one to protect your life or your loved ones life? Not so cool. Most of our fantasy novels show that.
But there are moments in fantasy that are moments you never want to forget. And these moments make all the suffering worthwhile. In fact, these moments may be why the hero keeps fighting when all hope is lost.
Even in our mundane, adventure lurks if we choose to see them.
For every dirty diaper I’ve changed, I’ve received 20 more precious smiles. For every dish I wash, I get laughter from something my children have said. For all the dirty laundry, I get hours of fun as my daughters explore this world, finding wonder in things I don’t even notice anymore like pebbles that line the driveway.
I need only to open my eyes to see the adventures around me.
So I will seize this adventure laid out for me by Jesus. I shall venture forth battling the dirty diapers, the dirty dishes, and the mounds of laundry as wholeheartedly as the Pevensies or Frodo took on their tasks.
I shall take adventure as it comes, not how I assume it should be.
Adventure is in the dandelions to blow on the breeze, the swings to soar on, and the mud puddles. I shall see it in a red leaf, a small bug, and in the growth of my little daughters as they take their own adventures in this incredible world.
What does a fierce dragon, a sword, a dandelion, and a pebble have in common?
They’re all part of someone’s adventure.
What’s your adventure?