CS. Lewis says, “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” I’ve found as a writer and editor that’s a hard rule to follow, but I’ve made it my goal this year to have my readings weighted towards time tested books.
One that I had owned, but had neglected was G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. One theme that winds throughout is wonder at the ordinary. He reminds us that fairy tales often take the ordinary person and set him on an adventure. This happens because only an ordinary person is startled at “a mad world” (Orthodoxy [Moody Classics] [pp. 29-30]. Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.) Think of some of the most popular fairy stories of this last century.
J. R. R. Tolkien’s adventures in middle-earth—the hero is an ordinary hobbit who is swallowed by a larger than life adventure. C. S. Lewis’s Narnia—ordinary children transported to an extraordinary world. J. K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter—an ordinary boy living in a cupboard in Privet Dr. finds out he is a wizard.
By this point you may be asking “And what does this have to do with marriage or family?” Chesterton says,
Keeping to one woman is a small price for so much as seeing one woman. To complain that I could only be married once was like complaining that I had only been born once. It was incommensurate with the terrible excitement of which one was talking. It showed not an exaggerated sensibility to sex, but a curious insensibility to it. A man is a fool who complains that he cannot enter Eden by five gates at once. Polygamy is a lack of the realization of sex; it is like a man plucking five pears in mere absence of mind. (pp. 88-89)
That stuck to the roof my mouth as I read it. How true this has been of my own marriage. How often do we take the wonder of marriage for granted?
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