Facts In Fiction: True Stories in the Valley of Suck

“And that is the very end of the adventures of the wardrobe.  But if the Professor was right it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia.”  

With those words, I finished reading  C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” to my love, and to her mom and dad, and my daughter and her boyfriend, as we gathered around my wife's bed tonight.  C.S. Lewis also wrote “The End,” but I did not finish with those words.  They are the two words which do not belong in the book at all.  It was not the end of Lewis’ story and it is not the end of Heather’s either.

I have talked to her, read scripture, and prayed over her over the past hours as she has grown more unresponsive and as the end signs of physical life show.  Something was missing though. I needed something more, something more about “us” than anything else.  Stories were a common language for us both.  She loved and studied both the writings of both Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.  But Lewis wrote for reading out loud and she even mentioned to one of her best friends how much looked forward to meeting C.S. Lewis in heaven.  For many years, we read stories together as a family, and this was one of our favorites by far.

So between last night and tonight, I read to her the words of her favorite writer and from her favorite story.  I made it to the end of the book, but not the end of the story.  While she has not yet gone on her next adventure, the time is close at hand.  She is preparing for hers and I prepare for mine.  Together, we tried to prepare our kids for theirs and soon I’ll be helping them on my own.

I realize tonight, what we miss so often in fiction are the facts; those truths painted and drawn in ways we can so easily miss or dismiss as "just a story."  When you come to know the soul of another human being, as I think God’s intention is with the Church, you find you write and paint on one another’s life.  If not noted, or reflected on, we may also miss or dismiss these influences as an aberration.  

Or we look deeper, stare longer, sit more quietly than ever before.  And we suddenly realize the fact, during all this time of living life, we were on an adventure.  We were being changed, and if we were given grace (which is by far a greater gift than any gift this world offers), then we come to look a bit more like the soul of the other.

I pray this was the case for Heather because I know it was the case for me.  I am a better person because she wrote and drew all over my life.  I realize tonight, the truth that I got teamed up on when we got married.  Jesus teamed up with her to make me more like Him.  While she will be gone, she will still be here in all the lives she touched and loved.  So will Jesus and this was her hope and prayer.  She wanted her life through the valley of suck to point others to Jesus.  She did this with grace and courage and love.  

The Professor was right: it was only the beginning of the adventures. Not in Narnia mind you, but in the Kingdom of God.  Heather will get to go through the wardrobe first, just like Lucy, one of her heroes.  So lead the way, my friend, my sister, my wife.  Lead the way on this next adventure.


Mahoganey Boss said...

Simply Beautiful...bless you Ken

Susan Preece said...

Tears. But a confortibg kind as I know that a special person has lived, loved and brought me to a closer walk with Christ. I am not worthy....and she is. Now I get it.

Susan Preece said...

Tears. But a confortibg kind as I know that a special person has lived, loved and brought me to a closer walk with Christ. I am not worthy....and she is. Now I get it.

Ken Hagler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Hagler said...

Thanks Susan. Remember the "deeper magic," though: none of us are worthy. Aslan alone sees us as worthy and his gift of grace is what makes us worthy

Unknown said...

Ohhhhh this is truly beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart and your gift of writing!
Heather and I have only been friends through Facebook. We were introduced through Sarah LaPlaca I believe because I am a cancer warrior as well. Heather and I have corresponded about books, chemo, and remedies for nausea and barf. Dang that barf! I'm thankful for being introduced to your wife...for fighting alongside her and for the privilege of praying for her and for your family. I will continue to do so in the days ahead. Please squeeze her hand for me. Well done warrior sister. Well done. See you later.❤️
-Bethany Pridmore

rhymeswithplague said...

Heart-wrenchingly magnificent writing, Pastor Ken. I'm sure you are helping more people than you can even imagine to deal with our common journey through The Valley of Suck with your words. And I hope this is the book you mentioned that you had already begun to write, for it will surely touch many. Continued prayers for Heather, you, Logan, and Jay, your parents, and Heather's.

Ken Hagler said...

Thank you Mahoganey Boss!

Ken Hagler said...

Hey Bethany Pridmore, thank you for sharing how Heather touched your life and how you touched hers.

Ken Hagler said...

Bob, thanks for your comments Bob. This isn't the book I mentioned earlier. This is far to fresh in my heart and soul right now. I do hope it will become one and be a way to tell Heather's story and her faith journey.

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