When I was a child, I had a special spot in my bedroom. A place only I could go. A card table upon which I had placed a large blanket that created a tent and hiding place. The table was my holy place, my refuge, the place I took my dreams and imaginations. It was the entry point to a world of adventure in which I was a heroic figure, a superstar athlete, a warrior for my country.
Do you have a special place at home, a place where you can dream and feel cozy and safe?
Do you know where my special place is? It’s my recliner chair in the living room at home – and the table beside it where I can put my computer, books, and coffee, and where my grandchildren can sit on my lap and read with me? Or fall asleep on my chest?
Sometimes, we realize that adventure is right where we are! In your imagination, you can be anything if you let your spirit free. Sometimes even an adult rediscovers holy adventures emerging in commonplace environments.
It was a time of war, World War II, seventy five years ago, and four children were sent to a English countryside home to protect them from German air attacks. Like all children, they are curious about their environment and one day, the youngest Lucy, finds an empty bedroom, and enters a wardrobe -a closet – and discovers that behind the clothing is an enchanted world, the land of Narnia.
Narnia is a magic reality – a place where animals can talk, half-goat-half-human fauns can become friends, trees can overhear conversations, and gnomes populate the woods.
But all is not well in this enchanted forest. The White Queen rules, and she demands absolute obedience. If don’t obey her, she will turn you into an ice figure. (like “Frozen”) Her evil has even changed the climate of Narnia, a place where “it’s always winter and never Christmas.”
When Lucy first tells her siblings – Peter, Edmund, and Susan – about the wardrobe and the enchanted realm beyond, they don’t believe her, but eventually they discover the land beyond the wardrobe – in all its danger and wonder.
Along the path, they meet Aslan, the great lion, the heroic savior of the land, and become his followers. His grandeur is both attractive and scary. He is, as one of the Narnians explains, never safe, although he is always good!
It is in encountering Aslan that these children come to know that while they are typical kids in England, they are kings and queens in Narnia, each endowed with a particular gift for the leadership and protection of Narnia.
Can you imagine that? Could you believe this about yourself – just kids. But, somewhere – in another place – you are a king or queen, or superhero – Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Superman, Spiderman, Captain Marvel, or Black Widow – and you have a special power and gift to save the world. Now that seems impossible, but within each of us is a dream, a vision, of being greater, stronger, and smarter than we are now.
Your dreams – can change the world. One of my students, Marti, was fascinated with babies and mothers as a child. She dreamed of helping young children, went to school, and has been a nurse, helping births for thirty years.
Another friend imagined admired her kindergarten teacher, and said “that’s what I want to be” and then spent a lifetime teaching children like us.
Thirty years ago, a seven year old named Serena dreamed of becoming a professional tennis player, and winning the US Open. She grew into those impossible dreams with hard work and became the greatest women’s tennis player in modern history. Just like Tom Brady, she had a dream and followed it….
Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg looked at the world and saw the climate changing and animals dying, and began a movement among kids who want a beautiful world, who are becoming activists to respond to climate change – she’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
But, we can’t do it alone. We need friends, older adults, parents and grandparents, coaches and mentors, and teachers, and we need God to live our dreams. In the woodlands of Narnia and the beaches of Cape Cod, we have a companion, Aslan, Jesus, who loves us more than we can imagine, who gives us a dream and the energy to achieve it, and who is by our side each step of the way. Just call on Jesus – help me be the best I can be – and he will be with you every day, whether at school, home, sports, on the job, or helping others.