Sitting by the ocean. A peacefulness I can not explain washes over me. Everything in the world quiets. In that moment of sitting by the water, staring out into the ocean, watching the waves roll in, smelling the salt air and the sandy beach, all the world seems to fade away. And I am lost. Lost at sea. It’s almost as if I have reached a tiny edge of heaven. I am getting a little glimpse into my real home. I am feeling it in my soul.
This came up while we were driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway a few weeks ago. How there are those places who just make every other place seem not as good. That make everything seem ok. That take your breath away with their beauty. Where an unexplainable peace presses down and surrounds you. The ocean, the mountains. Sitting at the top looking outward for miles. Seeing ridge after ridge after ridge. Glowing in blues and purples and bursting with oranges and pinks in the sunset. It’s like coming home.
It made me think of C. S. Lewis’ Last Battle. They all go through a tiny door into what they think is a stable but they step out into a beautiful land. And Jewel, the unicorn, is the first to realize where it is they have come. “‘I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we love the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this…Come further up, come further in!” (Jewel, the unicorn)
And this line “further up, further in”, is repeated many times through the last chapter. It was running through my head as we were driving the curves of the parkway. “Further up, further in.” A longing that on this earth will never be satisfied. But that doesn’t mean we should give up. It means we should keep pushing further up and further in. We should keep digging. Trying to find those glimpses of heaven. Soaking in the beauty around us.
Knowing that there is so much more waiting for us on the other side. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” And Mr. Tumnus said, “Of course, Daughter of Eve,” said the Faun. “The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets. The inside is larger than the outside.” I believe that in these moments of peace we experience while soaking in beauty around us, we are getting this imperfect glimpse, a partial and incomplete reflection of what our real life is going to be.
In his book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis dug even deeper into this idea. “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I ﬁnd in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. . . .”
Is it a physical, emotional, or spiritual deepening? The desire to go further up and further in…I think it is all three. And because we were created for another world, we always have the desire. Some of us more than others. There will always be that emptiness. That hole. Longing to be fulfilled. We can try to fill it with earthly pleasures, but they will never satisfy. Or we can chase spiritual treasures, soaking in God’s beauty and creation, always trying to get further up and further in.
“The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
“All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
The Last Battle