I have been tagged! And tagged with the best kind of tag, one that involves STORIES AND FANTASY. Only my favorite things of ever!
As I mentioned last week, February is Fantasy Month thanks to our brilliant Jenelle Schmidt. To celebrate this fun month, she created the Life Lessons Learned from Fantasy Tag. And my dearest Deborah O'Carroll has tagged me for this awesome thing! Obviously I couldn’t pass that up. Fantasy is only my breath and blood!
1.) Link back to Jenelle's Blog
2.) Use the “February is Fantasy Month” image above
3.) Tell us 5-10 lessons you’ve learned from reading a fantasy book (or watching a fantasy movie) – lessons can come from multiple sources, as well, of course
4.) Tag 2-4 other bloggers to keep the game going
What Fantasy Has Taught Me
Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R Tolkien
Oh, the lessons I’ve learned from this powerful story! Really, the lessons are endless, because every single time I reread the books or watch the movies for the 299384 time and counting or just immerse myself in anything Tolkien related, I glean yet more wisdom from his extraordinary works. I could make a list as long as Frodo and Sam’s journey to Mordor about what this story has taught me. But there’s one particular thing that always stands out.
No matter who you are, how small and unimportant you may feel, you can still do big and powerful and hard and amazing things. Frodo was just a little hobbit. He had never gone out in the world, had never had any adventures or experienced great evils. He was just Frodo Baggins of the Shire—a small, kind, and seemingly simple soul. But when the need to destroy the Ring came, this small hobbit, who hardly even knew about the world, volunteered. He did what had to be done, when no one else would. He stepped outside his little life in the Shire and faced evil and pushed on and on and on. Not because he was some great warrior looking for glory, but because, as our dear Sam reminded us, “There is good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” Frodo and Sam and all the Fellowship fought just for the sake of good. Not because of who they were, but because it was the right thing to do.
I often feel so unimportant and inadequate. But when I think of this story, it reminds me: We are all called to do hard things and fight for the good. We just have to take the initiative and do it.
(Like I said, I’ve learned a lot from this story. Ahem. Moving on!)
The Chronicles of Narnia
by C.S. Lewis
More stories that have such an endless source of wisdom. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’s allegory of Jesus’s sacrifice for us, even the most treacherous of us, resonates so deep and far. Aslan’s death brought an even deeper understanding of the Cross for me, gave me an illustration of what Jesus went through, helped me understand the power of His death. And it made it personal. Aslan sacrificed himself for Edmund, just as Jesus gave Himself for me. It takes my breath away every single time.
The Last Battle provided a clearer and more real picture of what Heaven may be like. It made Heaven feel real, feel close. Sometimes my little mind can’t imagine such a place, or wrap around the idea that one day I’ll actually be there, for eternity. But this story brought it to life and causes me to look forward to it and yearn for it every single day.
Dragons in Our Midst/Oracles of Fire series
by Bryan Davis
Yet another that is just packed full of beautiful allegories and immeasurable wisdom. For this series, it’s really the characters that have taught me so, so much.
Sapphira taught me that no matter how lonely and long hard times can be, that God is always, always right there with us, and we can endure because of Him.
Billy taught me that disobeying God does…not go well. God has set His commandments for a reason, and they’re there with our best interest in mind, whether we think so or not.
Walter taught me to keep a light spirit, no matter how difficult things get.
Bonnie, sweet Bonnie, is a constant reminder of what I want to strive to be. For years, I often ask myself the question, “How would Bonnie act or respond in this situation?” Her sweet, humble, and selfless spirit is something we should all strive to be.
I know there are 239984 other lessons this series has taught me that I’m not thinking of right now. But basically, READ THESE BOOKS. It’s my favorite series of all time. Yes, FAVORITE.
by J.M. Barrie
Honestly, I think Peter Pan has shaped my personality. It has been such an integral part of my life from childhood to now. There are probably things I’ve gleaned from it that I haven't even realized. But one I’m largely aware of.
Peter Pan taught me that, yes, we do need to grow up. We can’t live in our childhoods forever, and ignore the big, wide world that’s out there. BUT. But but but! That DOES NOT MEAN we shouldn’t have child-like wonder. Do you think for one minute Wendy lost her wonder of the world? She forever remembered her time in Neverland. She was a storyteller, a dreamer. Yes, she chose to grow up because she knew she had to, but, I firmly believe, she kept remnants of Neverland within her to her last days. And that’s why Wendy is one of my top favorite heroines. She made a responsible decision, one many of us (a.k.a ME) might not have made, but she also knew this world is not about school and work and the daily grind. It’s so, so much more than that. It’s about dreaming and wishing and smiling and finding the beauty. Just like a child.
Peter Pan taught me that I do need to grow up, but I never have to, nor should I, lose my child-like wonder.
Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood #1)
by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
This story is an absolutely gorgeous allegory about how Jesus still loves us even though we’re such ugly, selfish beings. About how we push Him away and push Him away, when all He wants is the best for us, to love us. About how His love transform us, if only we’d stop resisting, stop feeding our selfishness and satisfying our worldly wants, and just accept Him.
I read this for the first time many, many years ago, and the story resonated with me, and continues to each time I reread it. It encompasses the beauty of our relationship with Jesus into words.
This whole series is filled to the brim with beautiful messages, so perfectly woven into the stories you don’t even realize it until you close the book, breathless from the powerful story you were just given. One of my favorite series of all time.
The Ilyon Chronicles
by Jaye L. Knight
This is a spectacular fantasy series about living in a world where worshipping God is forbidden. It really highlights the trials Christians face, but how it’s always, always worth following Christ, no matter how difficult the road is. This powerful message ran so deep within me. Yes, as Christians we will be persecuted. It is not an easy walk. But no matter how hard the trials are, how long and tiring the road is, we have endless HOPE. We have a God so, so much bigger than the naysayers on this little earth.
This series has shown me how important it is to stand up for God and stay strong in faith. It’s not easy, but it’s always worth it.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
& Through the Looking Glass
by Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland is like Peter Pan in that it basically raised me. To the point that Wonderland’s nonsense tends to make way more sense to me than the real world. NOT EVEN KIDDING. I often feel like the world and people in Wonderland often think the way I do. As my mom has said, she imagines my brain looks a lot like Wonderland. 100% accurate. Hey, I never, ever claimed to be normal.
Ahem, ANYWAYS. I’m sure you’re asking, “What life lesson could she have possibly learned from this nonsensical story?” Well, here it is: It’s okay to be a little mad. In fact, I highly recommend it. Because the world is mad. (Mad as in “full of nonsense”, not “angry”, just to clarify.) We don’t live in a normal world. Life is crazy and spontaneous and odd and sometimes (oftentimes) doesn’t make sense. We can’t always have perfect routines and live utterly ordinary lives. Life doesn’t allow that. And why would we want it to?
To quote the White Queen, “…sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” (Indeed it was the White Queen and not Alice who said that. #Trivia) I think that’s a very good practice. We shouldn’t live in boxes. Life is so larger and more wondrous when we allow ourselves to think the impossible, to have a little nonsense now and again. There is a time and place for being serious, but I enjoy life much, much more just making light of things and laughing and being a little mad. Life’s too short to take everything seriously.
~ ~ ~
I am sure there are dozens upon dozens of other life lessons I’ve learned from countless books. These are just a few prominent to me. Fantasy has never been just an interest, it’s who I am, it’s what has shaped me and raised me as a person. I firmly believe I’d be entirely different if not for the countless stories—books, movies, and TV shows alike—I’ve grown up on, immersed myself in for all my life.
Because fantasy isn’t just “made up entertainment”. It mirrors the truths of this world to help us better understand them. It portrays our trials as dragons and helps us learn how to face them with as much bravery as our beloved heroes. Real, good, whole fantasy teaches us to endure and be strong and love deeply and have faith and courage.
It’s so, so, so much more than “made up entertainment”.
Tell me, O adventurer, do you read fantasy? What is one of the biggest life lessons from a fantasy story you’ve learned? Have you read any of these books? Let us flail over all the fantasy things! And don’t forget to check out Jenelle's post to see all the fantasy fun!