“As soon as you had taken away the Evil One,” she said, “and I awoke from sleep, my mind was cleared. It is a wonder to me, Piebald, that for all those days you and I could have been so young. The reason for not yet living on the Fixed Land is now so plain. How could I wish to live there except because it was fixed? And why should I desire the Fixed except to make sure–to be able on one day to command where I should be the next and what should happen to me? It was to reject the wave–to draw my hands out of Maledil’s, to say to Him, ‘Not thus, but thus’ to put in our own power what times should roll towards us…as if you gathered fruits together today for tomorrow’s eating instead of taking what came.” Perelandra ~ C.S. Lewis
I recently finished reading Perelandra. In this classic C.S. Lewis novel a fictional retelling of the creation story found in Scripture is told. Even though the book was written well before the midway point of the 20th century I found it to be incredibly pertinent to life today. I found myself using the highlighting feature on my Kindle app numerous times as I read. The above quote from the latter part of the book really jumped out at me and has been swirling around in my brain ever since I read it.
Here’s the truth: I yearn for the fixed land. The fixed land represents stability. It represents order. It represents a life with an easy to follow and steadily upward trajectory. It represents an ideal picture of the life I would like to see happen for myself complete with a happy and healthy family and comfortable lifestyle. It is what I really, really want.
Here’s the fact: I’m not on the fixed land. I’m in the middle of a veritable typhoon of uncertainty. I recently lost a job. I’m working at a job that will likely be temporary. Our current living arrangements are temporary. Many of our plans for the near future and distant future are dependent upon whether or not a group of people at the Pentagon decide to accept my application to be a Chaplain in the Active Duty Army. To put it bluntly riding these waves of uncertainty stinks and is stressful for me and my entire family.
Here’s what I need to grasp: I’ll never be on the fixed land. The fixed land is an illusion. Part of riding the waves of life is learning to trust God. Learning to rely on him and his plan. To trust that even in the midst of seeming chaos there is still a plan and there is still order. The fixed land would be great because I could feel in control of my life and my destiny. I could be at ease in knowing what each day would bring. So in all of this I need to be reminded that my yearning should not be for the fixed land but rather for the God who controls the waves and holds my hand through the storm. I’m still learning this. I suspect that if my dream of being an Active Duty Chaplain does not pan out in the coming months that I will feel the upheaval of the waves all the more. Still, I’m trusting that with time I’ll learn to be content riding on the waves rather than yearning for the illusion that is the fixed land.