Narnia Part 1: The Power of a Great Quote

I love a good quote. When I find one I especially like, I add it to my email signature so observant readers can enjoy it, too. In recent months, I’ve closed out emails with the following thoughts:

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” (Theodore Roethke)

“When one loves, one does not calculate.” (St. Terese de Lisieux)

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These days, my signature line features a new quote, one that I don’t plan to replace anytime soon. It’s a statement by Francois Mauriac, a French Catholic writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1952.

“If you would tell me the heart of a man,” he said, “tell me not what he reads but what he rereads.”

I ran across this quote in Light from Heaven, the ninth book in Jan Karon’s Mitford Years series. It immediately brought to mind another series that, if you believe Mauriac, reveals my heart like nothing else—the Chronicles of Narnia.

Have I reread these seven delightful children’s books by C.S. Lewis? Again and again. And mostly as an adult.

I think I read the series for the first time when I was about 13. I didn’t really get into fantasy or science fiction when I was a kid (I still don’t, actually), so Narnia—what with the traveling between worlds, talking animals, unicorns and such—didn’t make much of an impression on me.

I don’t remember what made me pick them up again later. At some point, I bought a nice boxed set of the series from the Crossings book club, and maybe I felt a little guilty just letting that purchase collect dust on a bookshelf.

Whatever the case, the next time I started reading about Narnia, I couldn’t stop. Since then, I’ve gone through the whole series four or five more times. A few years into our marriage, Randy and I read them together out loud. Once we had children, we read them out loud again—first to Lilly, then to both girls.

Our latest go round, which we finished up a few months ago, was for Molly. She was too little to remember much from the last time we read the books as a family, and I wanted to introduce her to all my friends from Narnia.

She resisted at first. She has books she likes and often doesn’t want to read anything else. But I insisted, and it wasn’t long before she was hooked.

She’d sit wide-eyed on the loveseat, leaning up against Randy as he read, hanging on every word. It was beautiful.

I haven’t read much else by C.S. Lewis. I’ve just recently finished The Screwtape Letters, and I’ve never cracked open Mere Christianity.

I don’t know what that says about me. I just know Narnia is where I like to go. Where I wish I could go, actually.

I love the allegory of it all, the story behind the story, the hints of higher truth and deeper meaning. I love all the characters—human and animal alike—but my favorite is Lucy, the youngest Pevensie child who discovered Narnia through the back of that famous wardrobe.

I grew up in Sunday school and church. I had no shortage of knowledge about the Bible, God and Jesus, but to tell you the truth, it was mostly intellectual.

Until I met Lucy, that is.

Watching her interact with the lion Aslan on the pages of these books somehow made Jesus real to me, emotionally. Not that that I imagine Him as a lion, but as I saw the tender and loving way Aslan responds to Lucy, I saw Jesus.

It changed me, deep down.

For our anniversary last year, Randy got me a sheet of Narnia quotations that can be used as wall art. I’m still contemplating where many of them should go, but we have put a few in prominent spots around our house.

Like this one, placed above two matching frames filled with pictures from our adoption trips to China:

“This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

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And this one, above a long row of coat hooks in the mudroom:

“Some journeys take us far from home. Some adventures lead us to our destiny.” (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

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There’s also one in the kitchen—center stage above the sink—that encapsulates the most life-changing thing I’ve ever read in any book, besides the Bible.

Next week, I’ll write about that quote, the story that comes with it, and the difference it has made in my life.

In the meantime, do you have a favorite quote that you’d like to share? It doesn’t matter who said or wrote it: Dr. Seuss, Theodore Roosevelt, John Wayne, the Apostle Paul—anything goes. Just slip it into the comments section so the rest of us can enjoy it too.

And who knows? Maybe your quote will end up in my email signature some day.

Lois Flowers

P.S. I’m linking up today with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory and Kelly Balarie at Purposeful Faith

Photo credit:DG Jones via Compfight


22 Responses to Narnia Part 1: The Power of a Great Quote

  1. Mary says:

    I have enjoyed reading your blog. Your insights have been helpful to me, especially the ones about not comparing, and I love the way you learned life lessons from Narnia. I’m wondering – do you happen to know what page I could find the quote: Some journeys take us far from home. Some adventures lead us to our destiny?

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Hi Mary. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the blog, especially the posts about comparisons. Those were pretty life-changing for me too. 🙂 About your question … After poking around online for awhile and skimming the book a few times, the only thing I know for sure is that it’s from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” but possibly the Disney movie version and not the book. That seems strange to me, so I’m going to keep searching. I’ll let you know if I find anything!

      • Mary says:

        Thank-you for your response, and your efforts to find the answer to my question. I think it might be a quote from the movie, because I don’t remember reading it. But I definitely won’t mind reading LWW again to find out! I will let you know if I find anything as well.

  2. What a thoughtful gift from your husband! I love quotes and Narnia too!

  3. I’ve also spent time rereading the Chronicles of Narnia as an adult. I actually did a lot of crying the second time around… I missed so much of the true meaning when I read them as a kid!

    I think one of my favorite parts is when, at the death of a character, Aslan cries. It’s a beautiful reminder that death, pain, and illness grieve our Lord- it’s not the way He wanted things to be.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Ally, there are parts of the books that make me cry, too. In fact, my next post in this little series will include one passage that gets me every single time I read it. After reading your blog, I have a feeling you may be able to relate to it on a few different levels, so you might want to check back here next Tuesday and see what you think! 🙂

  4. Thank you for inspiring our souls with these quotes. I can’t think of a quote right now, but I am thankful for yours. Cheering on your truthful words from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Kelly, it’s hard for me to think of quotes on the spot, too. But when I asked my husband for his favorite last night, it took him hardly any time at all to come up with this: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” (Anyone who knows the source of that one probably also is counting down the days to the release of the next Star Wars trailer!)

  5. Candace says:

    I absolutely love a good quote! I’m always on the lookout for them to tweet :). I never thought about adding them to my email signature. Great idea! I may have to start doing that. Mother Teresa’s are some of my all time favorites. One of her classics: “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

  6. I love quotes and I love Narnia 🙂 I think we would get along perfectly. I also love to share quotes in my blog. They just make you think and see the world differently, in such few words.

  7. sandraj says:

    Lois – Your post was so sweet, it brought to mind my favorite books and favorite author (Jan Karon’s Mitford series, which you mentioned). I do reread her books, I never tire of them (I have the The Mitford Bedside Companion which summarizes the book’s quotes. Yeah – I’m addicted!). So, my fav quote is from Jan Karon “But God had bigger plans for Lace Turner than digging ferns”. Thanks for the sweet reminders…….

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Sandraj, that quote about Lace Turner is just perfect! She is one of my favorite characters from Mitford … and that’s saying something because I have a lot! So glad you chimed in here!

  8. Cathy says:

    Hi Lois, found you on the RARAlinkup. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors and I think you will love Mere Christianity! I’ve read 6 of the 7 Narnia books and loved the allegory. Lewis was so brilliant.

    I love quotes too!

    I have so many favorite quotes but this one by Francis Chan made a difference in my way of thinking:

    “Let’s be eager to leave what is familiar for what is true. Nothing outside of God and His truth should be sacred to us.”

    And one more by Oswald Chambers, another favorite author of mine:

    “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.”

    • Lois Flowers says:

      For me, the most memorable quotes aren’t necessarily the most inspirational or beautifully worded, though I do like those, too. They are the ones that, as you say, “make a difference in my thinking.” Thanks for sharing a few favorites, Cathy!

    • Cathy, I love the Francis Chan. LOVE IT! And, even though Oswald Chambers wrote a “long time ago,” his words still resonate with me. “My Utmost for His Highest” is my favorite devotional book of all time, and I’ve given it to many people as a gift.

      P.S. Lois, I forgot to say that Lucy is my favorite of the Pevensie kids. She’s so innocent yet brave. 🙂

  9. Susan Shipe says:

    I have read and re-read The Chronicles several times! The quotes are non-ending from these books. I love them so much. Visiting from the RaRa linkup today!

  10. Lois, it’s so funny that we both wrote about Lewis today. I wrote about him because he’s my favorite author (and we’re on Day “L” in the A-Z blogging challenge!). I love a good quote, too, and you can find lots of them in his books.

    I first read the Narnia books as an adult, so I’ll never know what I would have thought about them as a child. (I also love the Mitford series.)

    I have so many quote posted around my house (bulletin boards, bathroom mirror) that it would be hard to pick a favorite, but I love this one by Maya Angelou: “If you’re always trying to be normal, you’ll never know how amazing you can be.” (I’m not normal, you see. 🙂 )

    I know you subscribe to my blog, but for others who might want to read my C.S. Lewis post, here’s the link:

    http://www.suzyandspice.com/2015/04/14/blogging-from-a-z-c-s-lewis

    Happy reading!

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