Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Dragon

In the "Voyage of the Dawn Treader", by C.S. Lewis, the greedy, unpleasant, dragonish boy, Eustace, turns into an actual dragon. While he was a dragon "his tastes and his digestion were dragonish," and he half consumed the carcass of a dead dragon he found before he realized what he was even doing. He was lonely, shed big dragon tears, and several days after he'd turned into a dragon, Eustace met Aslan, the lion. Aslan led Eustace, the dragon, to a well that was large and much like a big bath. The lion told him he must undress first, and he realized it was his dragon skin that needed to be shed before he could bathe. So he scratched at his scales and they began coming off, he scratched a bit deeper and instead of just scales, his whole skin started peeling off "beautifully, like it does after an illness or as if I was a was the most lovely feeling." Then just as he was about to step into the water, he noticed his skin was still rough and scaley, so he scratched again and it came off too. He looked down again and he was still scaley as though he wore many dragon suits. When he finally realized that he couldn't scratch off all the dragon layers, the lion said to him,
"'You will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know - if you've ever picked the scab off a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is fun to see it coming away.
"I know exactly what you mean," said Edmund.
"Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off - just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt - and there it was, lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me - I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on - threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again. You'd think me simply phony if I told you how I felt about my own arms. I know they've no muscle and are pretty mouldy compared with Caspian's, but I was so glad to see them.
"After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me.
"Dressed you? With his paws?"
"Well I don't exactly remember that bit, but he did somehow or other, in new clothes - the same I've got on now, as a matter of fact."
In one more important part, C.S. Lewis notes:
It would be nice, and fairly true, to say that "from that time forth Eustace was a different boy." To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun.

It's hard to share one's spiritual story with the world, where to some talk of such things is commonplace, to others a foreign language. I'll happily share more of my lonely dragon days with any of you, just mention "zerbik" and I'll know you want to talk more. This illustration of a dragon, eating his own, surrendering to one much mightier than he and finding new life in his human skin is one that I feel I have much in common with.

When we eat too much junk food, the toxins overtake our cells and our bodies crave more junk. When I was a dragon I wanted what dragons wanted. But He chose me. Layers upon layers is what He found...rather what He knew and died for. I am daily surprised at how many scales continue to reveal themselves. Yes, daily. It's a good thing though and I'm beginning to want what is good for me and finally detest what brought me down and still sometimes does. Greed, selfishness, pride...such awful pride, lust and more layers I sadly don't even see yet have made up the colors of my dragon self.

What I'm excited about is what's underneath. I believe God has had a picture in mind of who I would be. My life purpose is now to become more and more congruent with that picture. I believe this makes God happy. I know His picture is good, truly good, which may be beyond my understanding. I know it matches up with what the Bible says is good and right.

I used to talk to one of our teenage girls that lived with us about living a "congruent" life. I explained that if God's picture of us was drawn on a transparency and put on an overhead projector, we'd want our lives to match up with that if our lives were drawn on another transparency and put on top of God's picture. That may sound convoluted, but this is really really big! Think about not just the things you do that you know you shouldn't, but the things in your heart that you want to do that you don't, even how well you listen to your conscience (perhaps the Holy Spirit) from moment to moment. God gives us what we need moment by moment to help us get congruent with that beautiful picture He's drawn.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful & humbling... generated tears of thanksgiving and pride in knowing and loving you.
What wondrous blessings to see spiritual maturity develop as you show love for our Savior.

Laura said...

I love your description of a "congruent" life. What a terrific way to describe a life given over to Christ!