Puddleglum’s Declaration

Puddleglum quote

Although only 2 weeks, it has been a good rest. The longest time I have spent away from the blog in three years. It was a time of saying goodbye to our oldest child, a time of packing up summer, a time of not worrying about social media or reactions to posts on Communicating Across Boundaries, a time of recognizing I am moving into a new season.

I now move into a busy fall, a time where work pushes its demands, where the season changes from brilliant blues and greens to radiant Autumn golds and reds. It’s a new season at home as well. With changes in our family we are empty nesters and adjusting to the good and hard of a house that rattles and time that we didn’t previously have.

As I reflect I am sobered and humbled by all of life – but especially by the story that God is writing.  For it is a worldwide story of people and redemption, of restoration and rescue. The story God is writing is a story that goes from Pakistan to Syria; from Iraq to Germany; from Russia to Gaza; from Senegal to the United States; from North Pole to South Pole and all places between. Sometimes the story feels like it’s at a stand still, sometimes I hate the plot or I don’t understand it, sometimes all is calm and I read with encouragement and clarity. Sometimes I want to give it a 5-star rating and urge others to read it; still other times I want to rant and curse and give it a 1-star book review, begging others not to read it. But no matter what my feelings are about this story, it is always there, always moving forward, always being written. And at the end of each day, I thank God for this story.

A friend recently reminded me of Puddleglum. Puddleglum is a character in the Narnia series, specifically in The Silver Chair. Now Puddleglum is a complete pessimist. You know the kind – the one that when you say “It’s so beautiful out” they say “Yeah – but tomorrow it’s going to rain.” But Puddleglum shows his true character in one part of the story. At this part the green witch is trying to cast a spell on Puddleglum and some of his friends to make them forget Aslan and Narnia. She is throwing green powder on a fire, and Puddleglum? He stamps out the fire. Despite the pain of the flames, he stamps it out. And this is what he says:

“But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things–trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.

So as I end this period of rest, this I know – no matter what black pit this world may seem, no matter how awful it gets, no matter where the story goes, I believe there is a story worth clinging to, worth trying to understand. And despite all my doubts, all the things that can go against my faith, all the horror and evil that exists – I believe there is something better on the other side. Along with Puddleglum I declare that even if there is no Narnia, I’m going to live like a Narnian. 

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8 thoughts on “Puddleglum’s Declaration

  1. Dear Marilyn, I am happy to have found your blog. It was by chance (?) that leafing through cross-cultural material to help me understand people better led me to your site. For many years I have been seeking to experience the world, gain a global perspective and not reside in the “America is Superior” camp. I know God is the Creator of the Universe.

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God has given me a heart for the people of this world. My desire is to minister to them as they travel, immigrate, visit or land in the U.S. as refugees. It is not the plan for me to go overseas since God has not put that on the heart of my husband, at all. However, there are plenty of opportunities to reach out within my own country. And that is my heart’s desire.

    So, since I am limited to reading about countries, their people, struggles and culture, I am thankful to come across your ‘window’ into the world. Unbeknownst to me, you are the daughter of a wonderful couple from my home church. Imagine the surprise when I first saw a picture of your parents on my FB page. God is good.

    Pam Wilbur

    P.S. I have devoured your book! It was great!


    1. Pam – what a joy and honor to get this message! I am so happy that you found Communicating Across Boundaries! I’d love to hear more about ways that you have found to reach into your community. On Thanksgiving I sat back and felt quite emotional as I watched all these people from different countries interact. It was a gift. So great too that you know my parents – they are my favorites! Thanks for reading my book – when I find out that someone like you who didn’t grow up in Pakistan likes it and can relate with it I am so honored! So thank you – you made my day!


  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE Puddleglum! My favorite character in the Silver Chair (with a possible tie with Eustace). I have always connected with that particular declaration from the first time I read it, in third or fourth grade. Awesome that we can connect so vividly with made-up characters.These made-up characters help many of us to connect deeply with real-life situations, and figure out how to deal with them. Thanks for reminding me of that, Marilyn.


  3. The Silver Chair was never my favorite of the Narnia series. I think because it seems to be the darkest one. But I love Puddleglum, most of all in that scene and speech. Thanks, Marilyn. Looking forward to seeing you next week and messing up your empty nest:)


  4. Oh, YES . . . yes to the story worth clinging to and trying to understand, yes to the better on the other side, yes to Narnia! Yes to believing and hoping in the stories left with us by all writers of the Good News. Yes to Grace in all its forms, even when we can’t see it through eyes misted over. And, speaking particularly for myself here, yes to a new phase of life, and may I find the Grace in it :)


  5. After four years of being emptynesters (except on those rare occasions when one of the kids drops by for 24 hours or less) we are still trying to find the new rhythms that we know God has for us.


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