I was watching some old TV show on YouTube the other day. The show was complete with commercials. Since I saw many of these commercials more times than I saw the actual shows they were in, I have a very strong nostalgic connection to them, even stronger sometimes than the shows themselves. One of the commercials I had and still have a strong nostalgic connection to is this one:
Actually, what I have with that commercial is not a strong nostalgic connection. It is a strong spiritual connection. That commercial evoked something in me as a child, something I could not possibly understand or even describe, something I could only feel. It is the something Christian author C.S. Lewis calls “joy”.
For Lewis, joy was not a feeling of happiness, as it usually is when we use the word. It was instead “a deep-seated longing”, as you can see in this video:
Lewis says he felt such joy as a child when he saw a little “garden” his brother made in a biscuit-tin lid (he describes this in Surprised By Joy). I think he also said he felt such joy through Norse mythology.
I felt that kind of joy when I saw that commercial and heard that jingle. I also felt it when walking around the faux-European shops of Cincinnati’s King’s Island.
Lewis even gave me a taste of such joy himself. One day when I was very young, my mom took me to someone’s home. I don’t know who this someone was or why I was taken there. I only know that they were far more affluent than we were. Not only was their house nice, but they had HBO (or some pay channel). And on that channel was this scene from an animated adaptation of Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe:
I don’t know how or why. I didn’t even know what at the time. All I know is that when I saw those kids in those coats next to the lamp post, I felt something. I felt there was something good out there and that I’d never be complete until I found it. I was being called by something. Buck the dog was being called by the wild, but I was being called by something else, something better. And I desperately wanted to answer that call.
And that is one reason why I am a man of faith, a believer in God and His Son Jesus Christ. I believe they are the fulfillment of the joy/longing I felt when I saw The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and when I walked around King’s Island and when I heard that Tennessee jingle. Tennessee itself will never be the fulfillment of that joy; I’ve been there, and though it was a nice place, I sadly did not hear the song I was looking for. So it must be something else. I think I knew that all along, even as a child. Now I know it is God and Jesus. I now see them as the fulfillment of this joy, the only possible fulfillment of this joy.
And if they are not, if they do not exist (which is what you might be thinking right now), then I am, as Paul said, to be pitied more than all men (1 Corinthians 15:19). I am to be so pitied because I have this longing which I didn’t create and which I can’t get rid of. I am sick, in other words. I will be sick until the day I die, and on that day I will die in this sickness.
But if they are, if they do exist, if the one thing which can fulfill my joy is real and is really coming for me…oh, man.