17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
So the twins got into the bookcase on New Year’s day while my husband was thawing our frozen water pipes under the house and I was washing the breakfast dishes with bottled water.
They have their own bookcases of course, which is why the ones with all of my books are that much more enticing. I’ve got all the Barnes & Noble classics in their nice embossed covers, which I got for free as one of the perks of working for a publisher in NYC back in the day. I’ve got all my annotated editions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Lord of the Flies and Pride and Prejudice from my days teaching high school. And I’ve got the “way way backs.” These are the books that have followed me all the way from childhood. The “way way backs” are each and every one a sentimental cosmos. Boxcar Children…the first chapter books I ever read and the first time I ever though “mine” in regards to a story. Bridge to Terabithia…the first book to make me cry. And of course, The Chronicles of Narnia…my favorite escape into magic, which even at age eight I understood was the magic of heaven.
The twins found The Chronicles. They flipped to the pictures because of course they are only three. So I began to narrate. It didn’t last long. We got through the Wardrobe, jumped to Turkish Delight, found Father Christmas…and then they wanted a snack.
But it threw me back into the magic just long enough to remember what made me feel special about each of these books: they felt like they were written for me. That writer was talking to me about things I’ve only thought inside my head. That was magic.
This to me is what heaven will finally feel like…all those whisperings over the person you hope to be and are still trying to find will be brought into the light. God will give you a new name, the one that will make you sigh and think, “finally”. He will pinpoint the exact thing that makes you you and by doing so you get to be even more you and so does everybody else.
C.S. Lewis, the Chronicler himself, once wrote in The Problem of Pain:
Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently? And this difference, so far from impairing, floods with meaning the love of all blessed creatures for one another, the communion of the saints. If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note.
I want more than one note.
This world, for all its celebration of differences, really wants us all to be the same. It wants us to want the same clothes and iPhones and cars and houses and organic meals and lifestyle choices and movies and jokes and Twitter feeds because what is “mass market” without the mass?
The greatest thing about heaven is that we get to be exactly us. Conformity is a silly concept once you hear that secret name. It’s the key that will open you up to the freedom of individuality without insecurity, without tentativeness, without fear of misstep. Like in Mary Poppins (another childhood favorite), it is a giant leap into the chalk drawing that proves to be reality—you can dance and sing and “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” your way all the way to Jesus’s feet.
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A big thank you from Jamie on The Mom Gene!