Friday, December 09, 2005

Aslan on the Move

Of course he's not safe! But's he's good.  Posted by Picasa

You may be wondering about the "Purr and Roar" in this blog's title. It's all about lions. I have this unhealthy affection for the lion. And while I will sometimes have occasion to pontificate roaringly, most times I'm just purring.

I'm not sure where or why my affection for lions began, but I know that said affection got a huge boost when I re-read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis way back in the eighties. Now with the release of the movie, I've written my review.

My friends and family are well aware of my obsession. More tragic is that my poor unsuspecting grandson, Damon, is equally obsessed with lions, since I’ve accidentally trained him to be. Funny how we inadvertently pass on values to those we love. Incidentally when Damon roars, it sounds more like a purr... or a gargle.

I think Miss Perkins, my fourth grade teacher, must have loved her students. I know that she was a Christian evangelist, although I have no real evidence that she was a Christian. When I look back at all that I’ve learned in school that I still retain I often find myself back at Cheney Elementary in Ft. Belvoir, VA.

Among the values Miss Perkins passed along were a love for good literature and the learning of virtue through that literature. I do not know how intentional she was in this teaching, but I remember the two books she read to us as a class. The first was a Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. The second was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe By C.S. Lewis.

Both books scared me nearly to death. My 9-year old mind was still able to imagine vividly and my young heart was still vulnerable to deep feeling. These days I welcome any deep feeling and I stray away from imagining. Then imagination and feeling were second nature. Fortunately the same vulnerability that allowed me to fear the evil in the stories also opened my psyche to the truth (in both books) that sacrificial love is the strongest power in the universe.

Both books stayed with me. In college I re–read them and also began reading nearly everything these two authors have written.

While I can’t exactly trace the beginning of my lion obsession to Lewis’s books, the books clearly re-invigorated my affection. Aslan comes through the Narnia books as powerful, mysterious, compassionate, sacrificial, wise and good–- attributes I’d like to bottle and drink daily.