One of my favorite books is Perelandra the second volume in C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy. I remember the first time I read his vivid descriptions of Malacandra, the eldila and Dr. Elwin Ransom’s wild visions and experiences. It wasn’t just the plot, characters or colorful worlds – a way of thinking was being sown – a seed that has been growing in my heart and mind.
Early in the book Dr. Ransom is stumbling through this new world with floating land and miniature dragons when he comes upon a strange tree covered in “great globes of yellow fruit” of which he decides to partake. “It was, of course, a taste, just as his thirst and hunger had been thirst and hunger. But then it was so different from every other taste that it seemed mere pedantry to call it a taste at all. It was like the discovery of a totally new genus of pleasures…as he let the empty gourd fall from his hand and was about to pluck a second one, it came to his head that he was now neither hungry nor thirsty. And yet to repeat a pleasure so intense and almost so spiritual seemed an obvious thing to do… A tension develops inside of Ransom. A tension he senses as opposition. “It is difficult to suppose that this opposition came from desire, for what desire would turn from so much deliciousness? But whatever the cause, it appeared to him better not to taste again. Perhaps the experience had been so complete that repetition would be a vulgarity.”
A few pages later, Ransom discovers another tree – this one host to innumerable shimmering globes. “Moved by a natural impulse he put out his hand to touch it. Immediately his head, face, and shoulders were drenched…and his nostrils filled with sharp, shrill, exquisite scent…such was the refreshment that he seemed to himself to have been, till now, but half awake. When he opened his eyes – all the colours about him seemed richer and the dimness of that world seem clarified.”
“Looking at a fine cluster of the bubbles which hung above his head he thought how easy it would be to get up and plunge oneself through the whole lot of them and to feel, all at once, that magical refreshment ten-fold. But he was restrained by the same sort of feeling which had restrained him over-night from tasting a second gourd…This itch to have things over again, as if life were a film that could be unrolled twice or even made to work backwards…”
The “itch” for A Second Taste…can leave us knocking at the door of an empty house. Hoping to relive the profound and powerful moments in life, all the while missing out by missing the moment itself. I wonder if others passed through and sampled the fruit or took a bubble shower and got lost…repeatedly seeking what would become an empty experience. Would Ransom have become numb to the transformation of his thirst and hunger if he had eaten more? What color would the world have been after 3, 9 or 50 burst bubbles?
A Second Taste is my endeavor to discuss, decipher and hopefully discover our journey through life as we fend off the “itch to have things over again.” I hope to share in a memoir style, experiences from my life as a learner, leader, pastor, thinker, friend, and father (my wife told me to add husband in there) and to take those moments and translate them into universal principles to live life like Jesus lived. I hope you will find this to be a dialogue on life and living in the moment while anticipating what beauty may lie ahead. I hope you’ll join the conversation!