In C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, he describes a scene where a group of dwarves are huddled in a corner of a dark and dank barn, fighting over grisly meat and drinking lousy swill from cracked cups. They bicker and hit and bite and complain about their share at the nearly inedible meal placed before them. But they devour it anyway.
The single saddest thing about that scene is that the dreadful ugliness of it resides in the bitterness of the dwarves’ hearts. The scene is a fallacy of their own design. In truth, they are eating the finest fare in the land, and drinking from beautiful gold cups. They are not even in a barn, but rather, in a beautiful outdoor place. Try as they might, the children there cannot entice the dwarves to look up and see what is true. The bitter, hard-hearted dwarves prefer their misery and settle for the lie.
Over and over and over we are so like those dwarves. Things have happened to us: breakups, job loss, financial hardships, church disagreements, the falling away of friends, divorce. The list of catalysts for bitterness is a long list indeed. And when those things happen, we not only grieve, but some of us (most of us??) also keep the grief in our deep places and let them fester into ravaging bitterness and fear. Our internal ugliness colors and marks our world and how we see it. When we let that happen, we cannot see any beauty because we believe the lie that it simply does not exist.
I dare you to stop believing the lie. Life, even when hard, possesses a certain beauty in its recesses. I dare you to lift up your head and see the beauty. Perhaps it will be in the small things: a child’s laughter, a single flower, a snowy field, a sunrise, a hug, an unexpected phone call from a loved one. Take those singular moments and string together beauty for a day. Sometimes joy does not burst forth in grand gestures, but in miniature moments. That’s okay.
We so often tell ourselves that we will never find another job. That we will never be loved. That we will never regain our financial independence. That we will always fail, always cry, always have a hard time, always be disappointed. We run the risk of getting so caught up in the lies that when the truth presents itself, we do not believe it for fear that we have been wrong this whole time. You might be believing a lie and find out that you are wrong. That’s okay. It is what you do afterward that counts.
Take a deep breath and look around you with new eyes. The immediate things in this life might be bleak and you may not know what to do, but take comfort in knowing that the one constant in life is that everything changes. Everything happens for a reason. Everything can be a lesson. Life is beautiful and wild and unknown and, at times, terrifying. Let it be all of those things. Learn and laugh and love with wild abandon and live to tell about it.
Stop believing the lies. You don’t have to live them, you don’t have to speak them, and you certainly do not have to swallow them whole. Look for joy, be filled with joy, and you will find it in the most ordinary of things. And sometimes…well, sometimes ordinary is the best place to be.