Thursday, August 2, 2012

Shedding the Old ...

Our dragon Eragon (bearded dragon to be exact) went through a major shedding of skin earlier this summer. There was evidence it was coming. Dull gray patches appeared on his back and tail. He's been hanging out in his water dish. One night he was restless, and when I checked on him at bedtime, he was stretched up in one of the corners, standing as tall as he could, not moving. Then I saw the old skin peeling off his back. Huge sections of it.

It was clearly an exhausting process, as he was in the exact position the next morning. I wondered if it was painful. When I fed him his lettuce, he still didn't move, so I hand fed him some pieces right where he was.

It reminded me of the tale in C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Trader where Eustace, being a terrible, selfish, greedy boy, steals a dragon's treasure and transforms into a dragon while he sleeps. He is miserable, sad, and lonely, sure he will be a dragon forever. He tries to wash the dragon off himself, but in the end, only Aslan can remove the skin. He sinks his claws into Eustace, deeply, and peels the dragon skin away. Eustace later describes the encounter.

"Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off -- just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt -- and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. There he caught hold of me -- I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on -- and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again. You'd think me simply phony if I told you how I felt about my own arms. I know they're no muscle and are pretty mouldy compared with Caspian's, but I was so glad to see them.

"After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me . . . in new clothes -- the same I've got on now, as a matter of fact. And then suddenly I was back here." [116-117]

I love the allegory. Peeling off the old beastly stuff, God lays us bear and then provides new clothes, new skin.

2 Corinthians 5:17

English Standard Version (ESV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Ephesians 4:22-24

English Standard Version (ESV)
22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

One other observation from Eragon. Eragon hadn't grown significantly in some time. He had shed little bits off his tail or his feet, but he had not gotten much bigger over the last year. At the beginning of summer, we moved Eragon to a new, bigger, nicer habitat. He has sand to dig in now and a big rock to climb and room to chase his crickets. We can tell he is happier in his new home. The better home does mean more work for Eragon. There is more to do. He has to chase his crickets. 

It is here, in this better place, that we his caretakers provided, he has worked harder, and he has grown. He has grown significantly. Talk about your allegory.

How often is God moving us to a better place, and, yes, it takes more work, and, yes, the move is scary, but wow, oh wow, how we're gonna grow? Imagine how great the reward will be if we obediently follow when He leads to a new place ... a new journey ... a new skin.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Huge points for using this part from Voyage... l.o.v.e. CS Lewis!
    2. Huge points for taking something that I would have thought as only totally grossifying and making it a verrrrrrry good lesson for me. Cause girl, I can tell you what... this Big Momma is shedding some spiritual skin!!!