I hardly know where to begin today.
But I know that I am spilling over, and so I just know: begin.
That is all I know.
Always we begin again, saints much wiser than I have said, and many saints have echoed it down through the ages --
Always we begin again.
I have been absent from the page for quite some time.
First of all, there's a little thing called graduate school that keeps me rather busy.
And in all that time so much has built up that I can feel it all sworling around inside of me and I hardly know where to begin.
I wrote "were," and I thought "weregild" -- "man-price." So is "were" man -- like werewolf, "wolf-man"?
Such are the thoughts swirling around and round inside my body these days. Not just my head, but my entire little body is possessed of and by them.
What need I to say to you?
If it doesn't emerge, so be it. The vortex is swirling, and I am seeing little things raise their heads, waiting to be called upon -- but what I am waiting on is something to emerge from the rack, something to stick its head up and call out to me to rescue it because it is drowning.
Do I feel like I'm drowning?
I feel like I'm suffocating. I feel like I'm stuffed inside my body. Like all of me is the genie in Aladdin, waiting for a chance to burst out.
Like my soul is made of steam and smoke and mist and something denser, too -- like it's made of something that smells like incense.
Something like magic.
And isn't that (no pun intended) the magic word these days?
Magic, magic, magic -- everything around me is woven of spun gold and fairy dust.
(Here it is. Here we are at last.)
I pick a word for the year every year -- Chaz and I had long conversations about words of the year before 2017 ended -- and I can hardly believe I'm only jut now writing about mine, but before this it was not the time.
Before this I was dealing with some heavy stuff. And now we are witnessing a lightening, as if I am a hot air balloon that is throwing off ballast.
There goes a sandbag, and another, and another, and be careful not to get your head crushed. Be careful not to stand underneath my balloon.
It is white like a maiden's dress who has been trapped in the castle. It is white like the White Maiden of Rohan, Eowyn, who was just waiting to burst out.
Yes, I am exploding.
My word of the year is magic for the simple fact that I am a child. I am becoming a child again.
Last year, in 2017, my word for the year was childlikeness, and I was a little bummed that it didn't show up in my life as a running theme.
Little did I know it was preparing me for what would come next, though it was quiet. If that hadn't been my word of the year, and had it not been buried down deep, I would not have been ready for now.
I would not have been able to throw myself onto the wind though there are sharp rocks at the bottom (most likely).
(Thank you to everyone who just understood my reference to The Emperor's New Groove. Carry on.)
I would not have been able to jump and hope I floated.
Yes, childlikeness worked its way with me last year even though I didn't know it --
and I knew I was hungry hungry starving for magic. Magic that I drink in golden slurps.
It was like pixie dust grown to seed-size, swollen with germination and the ability to procreate, and then it was buried deep in the cool, black, earth-smelling earth that gets under our fingernails and will not come out.
And it infused all the land with vines of wire.
And fizzy pops.
And suddenly all the leaves are sparkling and we taste the green of spring and the sweet-bitter-prickly zing of magic in all our wine and bread and the fruits that spill their juices down our chin.
The truth is that I have been hungry for magic since I first encountered Narnia, but nothing made me know it like the home I've never been to: Middle-earth.
Nothing made me know it like Gondor.
I have never longed for anywhere the way I've longed for Minas Tirith and its white towers and white walls and the standard of the Kings snapping in the early morning breeze that breaks crisp over Mindolluin.
(Have you missed my many "ands"?)
And I have been aching for magic, and when I write about adventure and what C.S. Lewis calls joy -- both of which give me the name of this site -- and when I write about the longing and the craving for adventure that lights up in my soul I'm talking about the Lewis-termed Sehnsucht. Joy with a capital J.
I'm talking about magic.
About how everything in my life, since the time I was a girl, has been lit up with golden pixie dust backglow.
About how everything has been enchanted in my eyes.
How I built a Narnia in a corner of my backyard with rocks and rubbed ashes on them to make them white for the White Witch's castle. How I made tents for Aslan's camp out of dead lives and broken sticks. How I walked in the backyard with bare feet, despite my dad's disapproval for such a habit, because I wanted to be an elf maiden.
How I bought a dress a couple of years ago because its crushed velvet made me feel like an elf princess.
How I cannot go on a walk without gazing up, up, and drinking everything in and begging to find the object of the magic at the bottom --
except I know as well as you do that the magic is meant to lead me to Christ.
As is everything, isn't it?
And I am slurping up magic as fast as I can and I am never satiated, because my soul is bottomless even if I as a human am not.
Isn't that something? We are made for Eden and its vastness, and our souls are made to commune with the Eternal God, and we are not omnipotent nor omniscient nor omnipresent, but we hunger for eternity.
We hunger for the beauty.
We hunger for the magic that is everywhere and everywhere and enchants us up into bundles and out again into lotus-shaped explosions.
And we are raining our blood like fairy dust everywhere -- and we discover that what we thought would destroy us has turned our blood into what basically amounts to glitter.
Yes, my word for the year is magic, because I am hungering for it, and I am grateful to the year of childlikeness that slumbered and I thought I had failed at a word for the year because it didn't set a tone.
Except it did.
Only children can believe in magic.
And if anything has happened to me between January and June, it is this: I have become more myself.
I have gone backward, to the little girl with light blonde hair that waltzed circles around her backyard and came back in with dirty feet.
I wasn't actually that little. Pre-teenager. And truth be told -- I still do that, but now with shoes on. And I don't have a backyard. I go to the arboretum instead and almost surfeit myself on beauty.
Till I almost do explode.
I have begun to see the magic everywhere, and God has woken up my spirit and my imagination and everything I thought I had lost.
I can see images again.
I open my arms wide to the wide expanse of the world, as a little child might to before they realize the world is hard sometimes -- and I find that Jesus is generous.
That I was wrong about God --
He isn't cruel.
I've woken up to calling in bigger ways -- now, even now, I am tempted to provide you with an exhaustive list of what is happening, has happened to me.
I will be 24 this summer, and what I know for sure is that God is abundant and rich and fecund. God is a forest. God is blue, blue, blue. God is an immolation of fairy dust.
God is rich and He is all over me and He is sharing with me and all He has is mine --
And I am rich with the kind of riches Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about in Farmer Boy. The abundance of the farm table, the simple abundance of the early church and its believers and the wild ripeness and sensuality and sexuality of Eden.
Which is all to say one thing --
I believe in magic, guys.