Finishing Narnia

You’ll recall that I started reading aloud to my daughter over the summer in an effort to get her reading skills improving. It continues to go wonderfully. Her reading has gotten better by leaps and bounds. She’s not off the charts, skill-wise, but she’s right in line with where she should be reading, and I feel like my efforts have really helped get her there. Better yet, it’s become a tradition the two of us enjoy a lot. She reminds me when I forget, and it’s something she looks forward to every day.

We finished The Last Battle on Saturday, completing The Chronicles of Narnia at last. It’s always been one of my favorite series, and reading it with DC was a real treat, as I got to see it through her eyes for the first time. The Last Battle is one of my favorite books ever, and it especially hit home with me this time through.

For those of you who don’t know, the Last Battle is the story of how Narnia is destroyed. This place that you’ve been with through six books and loved dearly just gets completely wrecked by a stupid selfish monkey, and for what? He wanted some nuts. (I’m oversimplifying here.) The first half of the book is just brutal, as you see this place you love get ripped apart. Characters you’ve cherished get cut down, and awful, terrible things happen every page.

It’s painful to read, especially to a big fan of the series.

So you’d figure it would be a book I’d hate. But the thing is, just when you think it all can’t possibly get any worse, the heroes of the book die. And so that’s just the last straw, right? But when they die, what happens next is so lovely. The entire world ends up dying as well. Again, that sounds terrible. But CS Lewis basically sets out the whole final judgment, and you see the entire world of Narnia quickly get judged, and you follow the ones who pass to heaven.

DC, as I’m reading all of this to her, stopped me and looked at me with bright eyes. “This is heaven, Dad!” And I loved seeing that expression on her face as she figured it out. Because for how terrible the first half or even two-thirds of the book is, the last part is bliss. You see all the characters you loved come back. The world come back. Everyone is reunited with their families and friends. And it just keeps getting better and better. It’s one of the best presentations of what I hope heaven could and will be like.

At this time in our political history, it was very nice to me to remember that things can improve even when they look like they can’t possibly get worse. That even an unsalvageable situation can end up with a happy solution. True, it takes faith and divine intervention, but that’s some of the things that get me through a lot of my struggles.

Anyway. There’s your bright spot for the day. I’m off to work on library conferences some more. Thanks for reading!

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