So it is time for me to be super honest with you and share a deep, dark secret. Because let’s face it – a guy is not going to tell everyone he cried in a movie. That’s weird…really weird.
But this is exactly what I am about to do.
The Long Trip
It was spring of 2011 when I had the opportunity to go outside the country for the first time. I was a 16 year-old kid going to Australia with friends on a mission trip. Since I was a 6 year-old the last time I had flown, the idea of getting on a plane was a bit nerve-wracking.
The trip broke me in fast. From LA, California to Sydney, Australia is almost 15 hours nonstop in the air. To top it off, I had been on two flights beforehand to get from the East coast of the States to the West coast. Once we landed in Sydney, we still had another flight plus a one-hour bus ride.
When it was all said and done, we had traveled for what seemed like an eternity. From the time I woke up at home to the time I went to bed in Australia, 48 hours had gone by.
And I don’t recommend staying up this long. When they say sleep deprivation leads to blurry vision, slurred speech, emotional instability, and hallucinations – they are not kidding.
The Time I Cried
Of course, we all know why I went through that back story. I was a sleep-deprived, 16 year-old kid on the border of hallucinating. Excuses, excuses, excuses.
As we made our way back home across the Pacific Ocean, the trip was even longer. Halfway through the trip, I decided to watch a movie – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. For those of you who are regular readers, you know Narnia is my favorite book series. Ever.
I hit play, and…don’t remember much of what happened after. “Excuses!” you scream. Fine. But let me explain to you what happened.
If you have never watched the movie, the rest of this article is going to be confusing. Just stop reading. Rest content in the fact you know that I cried.
For those of you who have watched the movie, this is NOT a review or an objective perspective. I am not going to say if this movie was good, bad, or indifferent. We all know the first one is the best anyways. This is me explaining why I cried. All right? Moving on.
The Part I Missed
Last night, I decided to watch the movie again and see how much I had missed. The part I missed is so ridiculous, I have to share it…
Eustace (Edmund and Lucy’s cousin) turns into **spoiler alert** a dragon near the beginning of the movie. It was not subtle :I-think-Eustace-must-be-the-dragon” scene. Eustace…ahem, the dragon, burns a message into the ground that says, “I am Eustace.” Throughout the rest of the movie, everyone calls the dragon “Eustace”.
When I saw the movie last night, I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Because when I first watched the movie, I had no idea that the dragon was Eustace until the very end of the movie!
The Reason I Cried
I have beat around the bush long enough. The part you all have been waiting for: what part of the movie did I cry in? Before you make too much fun of me, let me break down the scenes that were so…emotional for me.
Here is to more excuses.
Lucy and Aslan
I must sheepishly admit that Lucy was…um, my childhood crush (being almost the same age). Why did I share another super embarrassing secret to you?
She was the one who found Narnia. She was the one who saw Aslan when no else did. More than anyone else, she was the one who believed in the magic of Narnia.
As I look back upon my kid years, it was not so much that I had a “crush” on Lucy, per se. It was that I was drawn to her innocence and wonder for the world around her. Lucy represented something deeper – the person I wanted to be and the friend I wanted to have.
This is why the movie took me back so much. Lucy begins to doubt her value and wish to be as “beautiful” as her sister. Anyone but Lucy! After Lucy has a nightmare, Aslan appears and reminds her or who she is – Lucy. The girl she was meant to be.
…and that’s when I cried.
Whether I realized it or not, half asleep on the plane, I was worried about not just Lucy, but also myself. I desperately did not want to grow up, forget Narnia, and lose that wonder. I did not want to be like the rest of my friends who had grown up long before I did.
I wanted to be who I was meant to be.
The movie ends with Eustace, Edmund, Lucy, Caspian, and Reepicheep (the mouse) at the World’s End. As they stand at the border of Aslan’s country, blocked by huge waves, Aslan appears to them. It is at this moment that Reepicheep asks to enter Aslan’s country. His time has come, his adventures have come to an end. And he wants nothing more than to gaze upon the higher country.
Aslan says yes.
As Reepicheep says goodbye to everyone, gets in his little boat, and makes his way across the waves…I cried. It was like saying goodbye to a long-time friend who I would never see again. As Lucy and Edmund say goodbye to Reepicheep, they realize they must leave to. Not to Aslan’s country, but back to the “real world”.
This was when I cried the hardest.
This was the last time they would see Aslan. This was their last time in Narnia. As they walked back into their own world, it felt like I was having to say goodbye too. Just like them, I was growing up and leaving my childhood behind – whether I wanted to or not.
I said in the beginning sleep deprivation leads to emotional instability. Don’t judge.
Why do I share this embarrassing story?
Not long after my trip, I bought the entire Chronicles of Narnia and read through it in less than two weeks. I discovered the movie captures only a sliver of the amazing world of C. S. Lewis. But I also discovered something else.
As amazing as Narnia is, C. S. Lewis never meant for us to stay there. He meant for us to visit, breathe the air, experience the adventure…and then return home. Narnia is there to help us see our world more clearly.
Before Edmund and Lucy return home, Lucy asks Aslan:
Lucy: Will you come and visit us in our world?
Aslan: I shall be watching you always.
Aslan: In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
Why Narnia Exists
The Narnian magic is not battling white witches or spending time with talking creatures. The magic of Narnia is that it awakens a longing for wonder.
As we long for Aslan’s Country, we realize that this desire is somehow built deep within our nature. We were made to long for something more, that mysterious place beyond us. Lewis taps into that mystery to create the magic of Narnia.
The magic of Narnia is that it awakens a longing for wonder.
We have to grow up. For me, that movie felt like my goodbye to childhood. But it does not mean we have to grow up and leave wonder behind, stashed behind toys and books.
In fact, I would argue that we must “grow up”. Our capacity for wonder must continue to grow. And our desire for that “other world” must grow deeper.
I guess I have some growing up to do.