|The Wood between the Worlds|
I and my granddaughter are reading The Magician’s Nephew by C S Lewis, at her request. She is reading aloud to me, but we are definitely experiencing the story together and we are equally excited to know what happens next. In my case I have read the book before, but that doesn’t seem to take away the thrill – perhaps because I am sharing her excitement as the story unfolds, perhaps because I don’t have a good memory.
One of the most powerful images in the book is the Wood between the Worlds; a strange, almost hypnotic place where nothing much happens, there’s a kind of lethargy that comes over anyone who enters it, and it is difficult to measure the passing of time. The wood is a connecting place for many worlds, accessed through pools, one of which leads to our world.
I have been wondering about the metaphor of the Wood between the Worlds for us as writers and Christians. For instance, it can be a place where all the potential of our lives lies around us and we need to make a decision and act on it; choose a ‘pool’ and enter it so that we can live life to the full. And it can equally be a place of refuge, of withdrawing when we are too wounded to participate and need time in neutral.
The wood has its dangers: for some of us it’s all too easy to inhabit a limbo where we dip our toe in here or there, take time to make a move, have no sense of urgency and imagine that we will eventually get around to trying this or that. Again, there are some who leap on impulse and dive in without considering beforehand how it will turn out or what cost is involved. Whichever sounds more like you, I wonder if you wish you were more like the other.
Another comparison might be the pools as communities or relationships. Sometimes we hover on the brink of entering the life of another person, and we are aware of the need to step forward and commit to our decision. At other times, having moved house or changed our circumstances, we may have yet to find a church or join a community and we need to know which pool to choose.
And, of course, as writers the pools can be a picture of our writing projects and creative opportunities, and the wood is a time of waiting, praying, seeking and selecting.
Prayer is perhaps the most appropriate activity in the wood – prayer for wisdom, discernment and trust as we step into the unknown; and prayer that he who made all the worlds, who is sovereign over all, will go with us whichever choice we make.
I bless God for the Wood between the Worlds as a place where the cogs can stop whirring, where sleep and peace are offered, and time is not a burden but a gift. I bless God for the chance to make new choices, to discover fresh worlds, to aim for new horizons. He goes before us, he is with us, we follow him, we seek him and he is our final goal all at the same time. All worlds unite in him. He is all worlds in one. In him we find new life and rest for our souls.