I have so many C.S. Lewis quotes that I adore, it would be hard to find a favorite. But I do have a favorite Tolkien quote (for now :)
We all long for Eden, and we are constantly glimpsing it; our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most human, is still soaked with the sense of exileI read this quote and it instantly registered with me, I have felt this way before. Haven't you ever experienced a moment when you felt an aching longing? Where you felt like you caught a glimpse of a rare and beautiful treasure? Or perhaps you had a moment when you felt like you were given a glimpse into a beautiful kingdom where everything is brighter and more beautiful? I have been taken unawares by that feeling so many times, and whenever I feel it, I get a sense of deep longing for the place where I really belong. I don't even always consciously recognize it, all I know is, that for that moment, I truly know I am not of this world and I belong somewhere else.
C.S. Lewis, another master author and Tolkien's dear friend, described having this feeling as a child. He describes a moment in his childhood when he was staring down into a little fairy garden that his brother was showing him. Something about the way the light fell upon the scene touched him, and suddenly he felt that deep, aching longing. You can hear this story firsthand in the amazing documentary made about his life called Beyond Narnia. Warning, tissues are a necessity for this doc.
C.S. Lewis is as we all know, the creator of the beloved world of Narnia. I cannot think of a more vivid example of a land that we all long to visit. The world of Narnia is almost surreal, it is beautiful, mysterious, exciting, but more than anything else, it is where one will find Aslan. Aslan is the clearest picture of Jesus I have ever see. He is frightening, he is magnificent, he is gentle, he is terrible, he is wise, he is silent, he is a roaring lion, he just is. And every time the children from England are away from him, or away from Narnia, they are longing to go back. They feel that is where they belong, they feel that they are not quite right unless they are in the place that feels like home.
In the end, in The Last Battle, all of the main characters die, and they go to a place that feels like Narnia. At first they are confused, what are they all doing here? But later in the book, Aslan explains to them that this is the real Narnia, that the place they were in before was but a shadow of the real land. He tells them that all that they loved best about the other Narnia, and about England, were actually just glimpses of the real Narnia. They are overjoyed, and all together they go further up and further in, meeting old friends and discovering all the things they love the most.
Glimpses of Eden. Whenever I get glimpses of Eden it is usually when I am enjoying something of this world that I love best. My family, beloved friends. Rays of sunshine, a gift of revelation about truth from the Lord. A bar of lovely, haunting music. People worshiping the Lord together. Gazing at a sunset, holding a child close, showing someone love. Watching a person's face light up when they are given hope, or joy.
It is when I experience these moments that I feel right, I feel that I belong, I feel like, if only for a moment, I am home.
And just think, if these wonderful things are just glimpses? Then what is the real thing like? I can't even imagine, and I cannot wait to return to Eden.