“We are far too easily pleased.” -C.S. Lewis
We were in the London Underground, waiting for an Elizabeth Line train.
The conversation turned to Harry Potter.
I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter, but I remember the wars. Should you, shouldn’t you. Witchcraft is real, and not to be trifled with. Every well-written story has an element of the story of God. The wars waged on.
The train arrived. We all piled in with the Saturday evening rush—standing room only. The conversation resumed. One of us had never seen it. One was raised on it, non-Christian home. Me, I’d avoided it, then watched it as an adult.
What we all agreed on? Media affects us and whatever the war, we want Jesus to win out.
And that’s when I remembered my war was never Harry Potter. It was something else.
I was in seventh grade when I got serious about God. I was raised Christian, and had a solid foundation. But when my family went to Kansas City for three months, I met kids that loved God more than me. I was intimidated, challenged, then inspired. It changed my life.
But what else happened in Kansas City?
I watched Pride & Prejudice for the first time, in theaters.
It’s a masterpiece, obviously. A masterpiece that fueled my already-existing obsession with England, and kickstarted my fandom of the entire Jane Austen world. Books, movie adaptions, spin-offs. I knew them all.
But in high school, I realized something was off. I started thinking my crush (who never talked to me) was just like Mr. Darcy. Then he asked someone else to prom. So I took a break from the romance genre. A break that didn’t last long.
I continued to live in a dreamworld I couldn’t get out of. I watched hours of British TV. I had more crushes. I went on dates, here and there. And when I turned 29 last year, romance was still a myth—just out of reach.
And I got sick of living in a myth.
So before I went to England in April, I did some research.
I wanted to know more about the people who created these stories. I’m not talking about the chick flicks I’d watched once or twice. I’m talking about the stories I’d swallowed whole for more than a decade. The books I’d read, the movies I’d watched, over and over again. Like Pride & Prejudice.
So I did a little Wikipedia dive.
I already knew Jane Austen had never married (Becoming Jane may be a little dramatic, but the end is fact). And I knew L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) had married, but quite unhappily. But I learned Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre years before she got married. And Louisa May Alcott was not like Jo in the end of Little Women, although she did have a real-life “Laurie”—who she didn’t marry.
Deep inside, I’d known it for years. But that night at home in Hawaiʻi, it hit me full force.
So many of the love stories I loved were written by single or unhappily married women.
In high school and beyond, I’d been so concerned about making sure my media intake was morally clean, non-violent, and witchcraft-free. Oh, I know that’s important. I have a healthy view of relationships that could have been absent otherwise.
But why hadn’t I ever been concerned about romances written by women who knew so little about it?
I’m a writer and an artist. I for one should know that a creative’s experiences impact their creation. To be clear, I know you can still experience love without a happy end. And I know the relationship status of these women didn’t impact their genius or intellect. I mean, it could be argued that it actually gave them the space to develop their craft.
But I started to wonder… maybe it impacted what I received from them. Yes, I got a deep love for England, the ability to communicate my heart, and a passion for well-written words. There is no doubt I am the writer I am today because of them.
But maybe, just maybe, I also got their uncanny ability to escape to a fantasy world.
A “clean” world, to be clear. But a fantasy world all the same. A world that pulled me from reality, desensitized my dreams, and crippled me with fear—so that I was well into my twenties when I ever considered looking up real-life flights to England at all.
But there was a way out of the fantasy.
I just didn’t know it yet.
Back to that train—rattling through northeast London, very much reality. I explained this all to my friends, in broad brushstrokes. I’m American—but still a little shy to talk at full volume on a train surrounded by strangers at my elbows.
But finally, I got to the point.
“I was so content to watch six hours of British TV shows and never look up flights…”
The London skyline flicked in and out of view.
“But three weeks in England have been so much better than any of that.”
I’d barely finished my sentence when I realized I’d found the way out.
NOT disillusioned, disappointed reality. I’m talking about taking a step to believe that God is good enough to fulfill the dreams on your heart. Yes, those dreams come with a cost. Reality is usually more painful than you expect. And often takes a lot longer.
But the painful, long-awaited, promises-fulfilled reality is so much better than any fantasy.
And sometimes? Your dream is closer than you think, too.
Take it from the girl who dreamed of England all her life—and suddenly got there (and decided to move there).
Oh, I know I don’t have control over every dream of mine coming true. Especially not in the timing that I want. (Yes, I’m talking about you, you elusive romance). I didn’t expect to be 29 and still single.
But what I’ve been realizing is that God cares way more about my desires than I ever gave Him credit for.
And all of them. Even the lifelong dreams I forgot about. Like writing a children’s book. Like living in England.
And sometimes, He’s just waiting for me to care about those desires as much as He does.
So, do you have a dream that’s stayed fantasy for a little too long?
I’m going to take a wild guess you do.
You know what it is.
My question to you is—how much do you want it?
As C.S. Lewis writes in The Weight of Glory,
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Don’t be content with the fantasy. I was, for way too long.
Because I have a feeling reality is just around the corner for you.
Then Jesus answered her,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Be it done for you as you desire.”
-Matthew 15:28 (ESV)
Let us dare to test God’s resources….
Let us ask Him to kindle in us and keep aflame
that passion for the impossible
that shall make us delight in it with Him,
till the day when we shall see it
transformed into a fact.
-Lilias Trotter, Passion for the Impossible
Header: HNM Photo