Some things we simply cannot un-see. Consider the arachnid with two-inch legs that attached itself to my front door frame. She crawled through neurotoxic pesticide and dangled in front of me, grasping the door with three legs, leaving five to reach out for my neck. That image will stay with me for a while. Whether its freakish expressions of our personal phobias, doors we wish we had never opened as children, or sunsets painted by the divine hand of God, there are images, concepts, words, that will never leave us.
Four children in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia knew this too well. After great adventures in a secret land where they live life to the fullest as kings and queens, they are transported back to the mundane life of teenagers in London. But they can’t un-see what they have seen.
Frustrated and angry that he can no longer live that life, High King Peter wears hope deferred on his sleeve as he fights anyone willing to challenge him. After one particular gang brawl, his sister Susan asks, “Really, is it that hard just to walk away?” To which Peter replies, “I shouldn’t have to. I mean don’t you ever get tired of being treated like a kid?” His brother, Edward, then says, “Well, we are kids.” And Peter captures the ache of Eden in his response, “I wasn’t always [a kid]. It’s been a year. How long does he expect us to wait?”
How long does He expect us to wait? Tiny tastes of beauty. Pangs of desire to be met in glimpses. No. I want to see with an unveiled face. I want to breathe in the air of otherworldly fullness. I want to think and touch and listen as I connect with the Creator, satiated inside, and un-pressured in community.
Instead, we wait. We need each other, you know. When I’m wandering in a wilderness of fear that Eden never was, I need you to remind me of our true home. Help me remember. When you’re standing in the sand, the great walls of the red sea drawn up on either side and an army of insecurity behind you, well, you need me. You need me to walk beside you, quiet, hand-in-hand, taking the next step toward the land of promise.
We’ve known small moments when the curtain cracked open and all of heaven’s glory shot through. We could scarcely contain the fullness of who we really are and what is surely to come. We cannot un-see the cross, the Garden, love, redemption’s rowdy call to let go and fly.
I’m tempted today to squish up my eyes and press hard to un-see. The waiting is too heavy today. So let’s wait together and tell stories of battles won, oceans crossed, chains abandoned, and the eyes of Christ. Oh, His eyes…I cannot un-see what I have seen!