“This place was at least as quiet as the Wood between the Worlds. But it was a different kind of quietness. The silence of the Wood between the Worlds was rich and warm (you could almost hear the trees growing) and full of life: this was a dead, cold, empty silence. You could not imagine anything growing in it.”
It intrigues me how C.S. Lewis contrasts two very different types of silence. Charn is described as a dark, dreary and dying place. A world at the end of it’s life, it’s ancient sun red and dying, while The Wood between the Worlds, on the other hand, is very much alive, although also silent.
Lewis uses such vivid descriptions like “You could almost hear the trees growing” and “You could almost feel the trees drinking the water up with their roots” to transport his readers into his magical world.
In life we experience these same types of silence, in varying ways. Charn’s is a lonesome and uneasy silence. Charn is like a situation where we can not hear God. It represents being immersed in the world, where everything is dead and dying spiritually.
It’s a scary situation, but like Polly and Digory, we usually find a way to navigate through such a situation, in their case (as is often the case in real life), find some trouble to get tangled up in.
Prior to arriving at Charn, the children visit the Wood Between the Worlds, which creates a stark contrast to their adventure in Charn. The Wood Between the Worlds is a place that is so alive, that any inkling of uneasiness leaves Polly and Digory. They become so relaxed and at home, for a moment they don’t even know how long they have been there.
Imagine experiencing the presence of God in such a way that all worry flees you! They are so comfortable in the wood, I imagine they could have stayed there forever and lived in bliss, possibly not never needing anything ever again.
It makes me think of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, their every need met, living in the comfort of the presence of the Lord. Like Adam and Eve though, Polly and Digory had the insatiable desire to know more, which is what lead them to Charn where corruption in the form of an innocent bell awaited Digory, and eventually Narnia.
From this I think we can learn that we need to be comfortable in our walk with God. The temptation to venture out into the dead and corrupting world will be there, but isn’t it better to remain with God, where life abounds?
Guest Blogger Randal Pope is a good friend of mine who not only puts up with me and my husband, but is a part of our church family at Radial Church... and is a member of our book club!
Special thanks for his input in this week's post!!