There is a scene at the end of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia that has stayed with me for decades. The enemies of Aslan, who is a Christ figure, have imprisoned the children, a few animals, Prince Caspian, as well as disgruntled dwarfs in a shed that is dank and dark, filled with putrid straw, with stale water and rotten cabbages to eat. A war against the evil forces rages outside. Outwardly, it seems that all is lost, yet the children, Prince and animals hold on to the belief that Aslan will come and save Narnia. Of course the dwarfs mock their ridiculous faith.
Suddenly Aslan appears, vanquishes the enemy and the back of the prison crumbles revealing a glorious sight. It is Narnia, but more resplendent, filled with a radiant light. Everything is more colourful, beautiful, fragrant. It is a resurrected Narnia. Heaven has come to earth. A table, covered with a white cloth and laden with delicacies, beckons them.
The children, Prince, assortment of fauns and animals feast with delight. The dwarfs, hang back suspicious and mistrustful. When they finally venture a nibble of a delicacy they spit it out in disgust. All they taste is stale water and rotten cabbages . All they see is the dark, dank prison.
The dwarfs cannot be coaxed out of their cynical, disillusioned existence. They believe that they are right and Aslan has brainwashed everyone else. The dwarfs, blinded by pride, see themselves as realists and so they remain miserable, unable to join in the new life that Aslan offers them.
When we choose to stay miserable, nothing, not riches, nor prestige or a change in circumstances, nothing will change that. Change comes from within. For a person who is free to live in the joy of the Spirit, nothing, not poverty, nor hunger nor prison, nothing can take away their inner joy.