Sunday, August 26, 2012

Do You Believe in Fairies?

the girl who can fly 

My daughter, wearing a pair of sparkly wings disappeared into the garage squealing “Watch me, I’m going to fly!” and my brother-in-law breathed “What if she really took off flying?” I caught my breath and turned to see because in that instant I thought she would.
Saying I thought she would isn’t quite right.

I expected it. I knew it.  
I knew it.

My heart gave a wild throb because I just knew she would leave the pavement as it sloped away beneath her paddling feet. Nothing seems more evident than that she is meant to fly. I cannot convey the depth of my conviction she would. 

That is why I have fiercely enjoyed reading G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is the account of his faith journey in which he came to some extraordinary counter-cultural beliefs, then found they weren’t so new after all: They were already recorded in Christian dogma. A book tangentially about orthodox Christian dogma written in 1908 is not the first place you might look for a treatise on why fairy tales are important, or the value of patriotism in your planet, or a few other things that might surprise you, but there they are. I am trying to say why I love this book, but I can only think to say it is making me more me. Thank you, e-reader for not running out of highlighter fluid!

Every time I try to be rational instead of fanciful something in my soul shrivels and goes dormant. When I can’t first think that a rainbow is a promise (Gen. 9) or that I might see an angel in a flame or reflection of light because “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Heb. 1:7), I also find that I can’t believe that my vote counts, or that doing the dishes is of any use. I find I can’t dream of things to create when I don’t dream of a world in which the trees of the field voluntarily clap their hands (Is. 55:12) and stars sing for joy (Job 38:7). The great lie I grapple with is that this kind of starry eyed daydreaming is impractical, that I should get on with the mechanics of living in the here and now with both feet on the ground. I can’t refute the lie with logic, but I become a soulless automaton when I live it. It is only when I let myself see the world upside down that my life turns right side up.
There are a handful of authors whom I know have the same experience because I can hear it in their voices: The writer of Hebrews, George Macdonald, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, John Eldredge, Stephen Lawhead, Dallas Willard. They believe in the same world I do. They see it, and they can make you see it too, so your head clears like the dizzy instant a Magic Eye picture resolves into 3D wonder.

For the last ten years I have fought this part of myself, calling it credulity, naiveté, or impracticality, but that’s over, because when I read Scripture on my own I find the same thing! It’s a deeply practical idealism, a marvelously magical reality, and here beside me I find some of the most amazing Christian thinkers of the past two centuries confirming what my instinct has been telling me always: That the world and it’s Creator are far more magical than most people will admit.

I choose starry eyes. I will keep looking to see my baby fly. And if I seem a little crazy, at least I am in the best of company. 


ahumblevessel said...

I love it! :) My kids fly too friend!

J.D. Stone said...

Science never killed the wonder of the world around us. If anything they added to it. It was the naturalists that slew the dragons, burned the dryads, and boldly, foolishly, prematurely announced that "God is dead."


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