on fixedness

In the second volume of his Space Trilogy, Perelandra, C. S. Lewis imagines another Garden of Eden and another Fall. In this Eden, the thing forbidden is not fruit. The man and his wife are forbidden to sleep on the Fixed Land, but must instead live on floating islands, never knowing in which part of the world they will awaken.

I have to confess that this temptation to fixedness resonates with me more than temptation to eat does.  I want to know where I am and where I will be.  Though I know it is foolish, I establish my own Fixed Lands — things which I deem somehow immutable — and try to shape my life along the contours of those Fixed things.

Though to sleep on a Fixed Land is not to fall from grace in this our world, such attempts usually end for me in the discovery that my Fixed Lands really are not fixed. If my Fixed Lands cannot always ensure that I know where I’ll be, I look to them to be where I expect; they aren’t.

So here I am again, crawling back to the God in whom there is no variation or shadow due to change, the only truly Fixed Land, the One whose contours I irrationally fight. He feeds the hungry ones who stole forbidden food.  He bids the tired one who left Him to find other fixed lands come back, rest on His fixedness.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, here on my Fixed Land, knowing that when I awake, I shall be with Him still.


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