If I had a blog, today I would write about what true Independence means to me. In the book The Last Battle, the final book in The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis tells the tale of the last days of the Narnian world. After the final battle, even though good has triumphed over evil, Narnia’s time has come and the planet begins to collapse. Our heroes follow the great lion, Aslan, “further up and further in,” to a new Narnia; one more beautiful and more “real” than the place they left behind. As they travel, they must pass through a dilapidated stable, the last portal before they enter Lewis’ version of Heaven. Inside the building they find a company of dwarves, huddled in misery, complaining about their lot in life. Aslan creates a banquet before them, but all the dwarves can see is mouldy bread and stale water. The children open the door to the new Narnia, but the dwarves complain about the annoying sounds of revelry and the overpowering sunlight. Try as they might, our heroes cannot get the dwarves to look beyond their self-pity and, in the ends, leave them to their misery, forever trapped in a prison of their own making.
In our own world, we are all guilty of getting lost behind the stable door; so wrapped up in the seduction of self-pity. Some days, nothing feels better than complaining about how we’ve been wronged, passed over, betrayed and short-changed. Harmless as this may seem, there is great danger in “pity-parties,” and the price for this indulgence is our freedom. We can get lost in this dark world of the negative, the ugly, and the hopeless; so lost that when we are at the portal of the Great Beyond, we cannot see the gifts spread at our feet.
So, on this Independence Day, I renew my vow to look for light in the darkness, beauty in the mundane, and hope in the midst of despair. Then, when my time comes to go “further up and further in,” I will be free to pass through The Stable Door.