When This World Doesn’t Fit

J R R Tolkien

Do you ever have that feeling that the world just doesn’t fit right? It’s this overpowering feeling that you’re not doing enough, a longing to live, coupled with the realization that nothing you do will ever fulfill this need.

I get it the most after reading or watching a particularly good story, or when listening to a certain type of music. For me, currently, it’s a mixture of Rogue One and Lord Huron’s Lonesome Dreams album, but really, anything good can set it off.

When I feel this way, I keep wanting to drown it. Since nothing I do, especially at this time in life (I can’t exactly go skydiving at the drop of a hat), can fulfill it, I try to make up stories to do so. Part of this longing is what makes me read and write so much- those activities give me a chance to live a life I never will. But that’s never enough.

C. S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity,

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

This feeling, this desire for a wholly fulfilling life, can’t be satisfied by this world because I’m made for another one: the Kingdom of Heaven. Although it’s a thoroughly uncomfortable feeling, I shouldn’t try to drown it or shove it away- it’s a part of how I’m made. This discomfort puts things back in perspective: this world isn’t all there is.

This is one of the reasons why reading and writing (fantasy, especially) is so important. These activities open our eyes to the idea of a life beyond the one we see every day- be it through a battle over space station plans, the discovery of a mad wife locked in an attic, or a quest to destroy a magic ring. A well written story will make its readers long for something more in life. The best ones will point its readers towards the one place that longing can be satisfied.

Stories should stir up desires that the world cannot satisfy to remind us that this world is supposed to feel uncomfortable. This world isn’t supposed to fit right, because we were made for another.

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