If you were like me, reading was a large part of my childhood. I remember vividly my mom and dad taking me to the library to pick out books to read over the summer. Reading has always given me a way to be informed about different ideas, and I love to read the expression of different ideas that authors have to offer their readers.
Literature allows all of us to be brought into the world of the author and the filters that they use to see the world. It helps us grow and shift the way that we see reality. Authors can create stories that forge hope, joy, belonging and bring truth to the dark places of our lives. The best authors are the ones that are able to speak into the different seasons of our lives. The first author that was able to capture my attention was arguably one of the most influential Christian authors of all time: C. S. Lewis.
When I was around 5 years old, I started reading The Chronicles of Narnia series. I fell in love with the characters and what they represented within the context of the story. Lewis had such a profound impact on my life as a young child, and this book series opened my eyes up to the power of literature and the effects that it can have on people.
My favorite book in the Narnia series is The Horse and His Boy. The book centers on a boy named Shasta and his talking horse named Bree. This story deals with many themes that I think people of all ages can subscribe to such as feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and fearfulness of the future. Through all of these feelings, Aslan is propelling Shasta through his story while Shasta’s friends are walking alongside him through this journey. The great thing that Lewis does in this book is that he shows that even in these fearful times, there always people that are there for us pushing us along in our own story.
For me, I know that the times when I am struggling the most, I often forget that God is there right in the middle of them propelling me along. My friends are just like Bree and the other characters looking out for Shasta and his best interest, all while they are pursuing their one goal. When I think back to Shasta’s story, it continues to further my understanding of the places and spaces that I am in, in life.
His impact didn’t just stop at his children’s series that I read when I was young. C. S. Lewis spoke into my life when I was wanting to take my spiritual life deeper. I read books like The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity. These books expanded the way that I look at Christian spirituality. In a time of spiritual transformation, Lewis’ writings assisted my theological consciousness; this is why literature and reading should be so integral to your life because it can bolster your perception of reality.
The fact that, through the different growing cycles of my life. Lewis was there and God was using writing from 70 plus years ago astounds me. As a child, I stepped into the wardrobe and went on an adventure with Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. We defeated a witch, sailed seas and traveled through a desert. As an adult, my theology of the Christian faith was expounded and furthered. C. S. Lewis will always have a lasting impact on my own story.