Aslan in the Shadowlands: A Susan Story
The Great Lion walked up to Susan, his glorious mane waving in the breeze. He stood very close and very still. They were in an open field, and the tall grass waved soundlessly. He looked at her, just looked at her. He did that sometimes.
Susan watched as tears fell down from his gold, kingly eyes. And Susan knew why he was crying; he was crying over her.
She longed to touch him, but didn’t dare. His beauty pierced her, but she couldn’t look away. She was aching inside for the wonder which she had once felt.
‘’Susan,’’ he said ‘’ Why do you run against what you know to be true? Seek me,Susan. I am there, even in your world. Remember, once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen of Narnia. Your story is but a part of my Great Story.’’
Then Susan did one of the least grown-up things she could do.
She fell down at his feet and cried out to him. ‘’ Aslan, Aslan, I’m so broken, and when I wake up it won’t even matter.’’
‘’Susan,’’ said Aslan, ‘’ I’m going to ask you to do something very hard.’’
‘’What?’’ asked Susan, as her mind flashed through her Narnian adventures.
‘’Live. And remember that you are a Queen.’’
They were all terribly afraid, so they laughed as hard as they could, and ran further than they dared. The thing was, they didn’t even know it. Susan was running further than anyone, but perhaps that was because she had more way to go.
She swirled around the room, striking, in a tight black dress. It’s not for nothing I’m called the beauty of the family. She puckered her lips for the mirror, and her hand ran a dark red lipstick across her lips. She gave the mirror a dazzling camera-perfect smile, and then she laughed thinly.
She was trying to laugh Aslan off. Dreaming about Aslan after all those years! What funny kids we were. Chivalrous mice and talking lions!
Susan walked out the door, going to her party. On her bed was an unopened letter from the Professor.
The next day as Susan went to her classes at Magdalen College she watched the eyes of students shift away from her, and instructors gave her looks resembling pity. What was wrong?
Did I drink too much? Did I do something horribly embarrassing? Is it my face?
After her classes, Susan decided to take a brief walk. She bought a newspaper and settled down on a nearby bench. And there it was. The headline was written in crisp, black letters, and the article itself calm, detached. It described the train crash and listed Peter, Edmund, and Lucy among the victims. In that moment, Susan did nothing, couldn’t do anything, because it felt too unreal. In the next moment, Susan knew that she had to see for herself.
Susan Pevensie was pushing past reporters, and photographers, and then she put her hand over her mouth, feeling sick. She came closer to the crash. Then Queen Susan the Gentle beheld the bodies of her three siblings, and silently she mourned in a way that neither King Edmund the Just, or High King Peter the Magnificent, or Queen Lucy the Valiant could have done.
Yes, she was Queen Susan, awaked after a long slumber, but all that felt real was death, and Aslan, Aslan had known, and he had done nothing.
Back in her room Susan picked up the letter that the Professor had written. It said only this;
I hear that you are going to Magdalen College. Say hello to your Professor Lewis for me. He is a good friend of mine.
Susan folded up the letter, and shuddered, knowing that she was holding the letter of a dead man.
Very shortly after, she received a letter from Professor Lewis.
Dear Miss Susan Pevensie,
I am writing to you mostly because of Digory. He cared for you and seemed deeply concerned for you. Although I know what it’s like to lose family, I won’t pretend I know what you’re going through. Although Digory cared for you dearly he also seemed to feel that you were running away from the faith you once held.
Susan, don’t you know that pain is God’s megaphone? Don’t you believe that God allowed their deaths to wake you up?
But don’t believe for an instant that ‘’ This is what life is really like’’ or'' that’s all there is.’’ We could never feel that life had gone horribly Wrong, if once it had not once gone Right. Die before you die, Susan; You’ll have no other chance.
Susan tried to take Professor Lewis’ advice, but it would be sometime before she could live, really live, the way Aslan wanted her to. So she sought Aslan, stumbled, fell, raged, and eventually she found him, or perhaps more honestly, he found her.
And sometimes in a sunset, a song, or many other things, Susan felt a shadow of what she considered to be supremely Narnian, which was only a shadow of the True Narnia.