Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Believe in Faeries

I recently finished the book Phantastes by George MacDonald. Amazing book. Amazing man. Amazing story. I've read it once before, but, as with many stories, the more often you read it, the more there is to find. It also seems to happen, in God's divine providence, that I read a book and find exactly what I have been needing to understand. Whether I read the particular book by chance I can't really say. It just seems to work out :) This particular book left me with several feelings. The main character, at the end of his journey, says, " Thus I, who set out to find my Ideal, came back rejoicing that I had lost my Shadow." He rejoiced that he has been humbled and rescued. The entire story, in the whimsical, winding, round-about way of faerie land, is about selfless love, humility, acceptance of truth, and true courage. I know I can't do justice to the insights I came to without an elaborate exposition of the plot and many details, but I hope to give a small idea of the wonder of MacDonald's "phantasy" and the beauty and richness of the details. He leaves his readers with a sense of expectancy and hope. His are happy books with happy endings, but never are all the issues fully resolved--the story is never fully explained. It goes on still. Always there is a waiting and a hoping that you, as the reader, will find faerie land yourself. I find myself keeping a watchful eye out for the "mystic mark of red" of the Wise Old Woman and hoping (always hoping). In MacDonald's phantastic worlds, great things are possible. And he calls us, though his characters, to do those things with a great love and a humble heart. Stirrings, deep within us, rise and surge upwards to be fulfilled in loving others. We must be confident in God's for us--that goodness is coming to those who trust Him. "As I lay, with my eyes closed, I began to listen to the sound of the leaves overhead. At first, they made sweet inarticulate music alone; but, by-and-by, the sound seemed to begin to take shape, and to be gradually moulding itself into words; till, at last, I seemed able to distinguish these, half-dissolved in a little ocean of circumfluent tones: 'A great good is coming -- is coming -- is coming to thee.'" "...I know that good is coming to me -- that good is always coming; though few have at all times the simplicity and the courage to believe it. What we call evil, is the only and best shape, which, for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good. And so, Farewell." MacDonald's Works on the Web

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