We knew you shouldn’t have done what you did, in the house on that island. You had a stone in your shoe; who can blame you for that? But you should have kept walking. A lot of us are experts in Narnia, and we were yelling at you from this side of the page, asking you to please keep walking.
You shouldn’t have been looking through that spell book. We knew it, because the spells and words felt forbidden even to us, and as readers, you know it’s our job to spy on you. You were in unmarked territory somewhere inside that tenth chapter of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. You should have kept up with the others, we know. But shamefully, guiltily, we silently implored you to keep going- to show us the inside of that book we shouldn’t have been reading.
And when you found that spell, Lucy, the one to make you beautiful beyond compare, our pulses increased as we bit off the tips of our fingernails, wondering what you would do. And, though you’re fictional and will never know this, you affirmed a very real, non fictional desire for every girl and almost-woman reading that book: to be beautiful. When you looked at yourself as you were, and observed your shortcomings, you struck a chord inside us. For though most of us would never dare say it out loud, we’ve been there too. We’ve magnified our own flaws and we’ve berated the less-than-ideal we see in ourselves. And I don’t know that there is a girl alive, who, upon reading your chapter, didn’t meet your predicament with a sigh of relief, a breath of realization, thoughts of, she’s felt that too? Because in our world, like yours, beauty is contained by a piece of glass and our interpretation of it, and we are obsessed with the reflection we will never touch.
Sweet Lucy, how thankfully disappointed we were when Aslan came out on the page to keep you from uttering that spell! For we, too, were mesmerized, too caught up with the idea that to be utterly beautiful is an ideal worth chasing- because beauty is power, influence and importance, and isn’t that what we all want? With his growling, the shaking of his head, and his terrifying looks, he caused you to turn the page; to save yourself. And here, in real life, in our personal lives, I guess each of us are learning that in little ways as well. There are more things, yes, than physical beauty, but some days, we ourselves don’t know that. We take our make-up wands in hand and declare that, we too, will say the spell to make us beautiful. We know we are lied to, taught to emphasize our flaws and how to disguise them- there would be no cosmetic industry if we weren’t. But Lucy, may we find in our mirrors what you found in that book- a defender to scare us out of our vanity and outside of ourselves; who will make us beautiful in an entirely different way: in the way of being real.
Spying on your friends, Lucy—using magic to hear what they were saying about you— we knew you shouldn’t have done that. But secretly, we thought about the people we’d choose to eavesdrop on, given the chance. Vanity and the desire to be liked- which of us hasn’t felt that? To hear what your friend said about you- to hear her say she’s tired of you- oh Lucy, we felt that knife right alongside you. And whether she meant it or not, words lodge themselves in that tender place between our ego and our heart. Because sometime, somewhere along the way, every single one of us has altered the way we are to change or fit or be liked by another. Each of us have given up a piece of what was truly us and have exchanged it for something less to fit in. It would hurt us to watch you do the same, because though you are fictional your heart to us is real, and we wish more for you than what we gave to ourselves.
But then you read that story- that beautiful one for the refreshment of the soul. That was the one I wanted to read most of all. And there must have been something in it; some kind of balm to the spirit that made you forgive your friend so easily only a little while later. Aslan told you she was weak and afraid of the girl she was talking with about you, but that she loves you- and somehow, you believed it. You came out of that house, with Aslan, changed. Was it the spell of refreshment? Or Aslan himself? Or are they one and the same?
Thanks, Lucy, for resonating with us and for giving us hope, at the end of chapter ten. We know you’ll enjoy the rest of your adventure- and we’ll be rooting for you.