My youngest daughter and I recently journeyed south to visit my son Ben, who is living in Florida this summer during an internship. Hard to believe these two great big grown-up people began their lives as fragile tiny new creations growing INSIDE my body. How on earth did they ever fit?!
Another son and his wife welcomed their second child into the world last week. Holding this precious 8+-pound newborn, I looked at his trim mama and wondered, “How is this even possible?!”
Stories are like that, too. They begin as tiny seeds inside of us. A small collection of ideas and images, clustered in a knot around some compelling theme. Sometimes, they lie dormant for months, even years. Then, irresistibly, like earth-blanketed acorns bursting from the swell of spring rains, they begin to grow.
Some stories grow quickly, like gourd vines in summer sun; others, like Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, mature and ripen over decades, like oak trees.
And when we read an epic story or one that touches us deeply, we wonder: “How on earth did all of this fit inside [the author]’s head?!”
Amazing that whole people – seven of them! – lived and grew inside my body. Amazing that whole worlds fit inside the relatively small space of human heads and hearts.
* * *
“Yes,” said the Lord Digory, “Its inside is bigger than its outside.”
“Yes,” said Queen Lucy. “In our world, too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”
– C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia