7 Quick Takes: Puddleglum’s Remedy for Political Malaise


It has been forever since I’ve posted and even longer since I’ve written with any regularity. In my defense, life has been crazy. In the past year, I have moved twice, gotten divorced, had two different jobs, experienced the death of my last remaining grandparent, and tried to rebuild my life in the ruins. And I can finally say that it’s actually OK. I’m about to move into an adorable house in Atlanta with two other women in their twenties, so I’ll actually be close to friends and my wonderful church community. In the five stages of grief (since divorce is very like a death), I think I’m finally in acceptance.


Unfortunately the country at large is bat-shit crazy. This would be a fantastic time to be a political science professor. You would have no trouble keeping a class captivated.


If you’re like me it’s easy to get caught up in the politics and drama. It’s hard to remember that these things are passing away, that there are more important and lasting realities.


Those who’ve read The Silver Chair in the Chronicles of Narnia – because your childhood wasn’t sad and empty – will remember Puddleglum with particular fondness. (He is far and away my favorite Narnia character, even though he’s only in the one book). Remember how he defeats the Witch’s deception in the Underworld? She has convinced Eustace and Jill, with the help of drugged smoke and her harp, that the entire above ground world is a lie: there is no sun, no sky, and definitely no Aslan. Puddleglum retorts that even if there is no sun and no Aslan, that he will go on being a Narnian and believing in Aslan because his made-up world “beats yours all hollow.”


Many times I doubt, imagine that this physical world is all there is. The atheists are right, and there is no God, no angels, no supernatural. If anything has temporarily cured me it is this election and the surrounding news. As I look at the violenceĀ in Dallas, in Baton Rouge, in Orlando, in Nice; as I see video of a black man shot by a police officer while struggling to calm his autistic patient in the street; as I read about Syria on the BBC because our own news is too obsessed with an egomaniac’s convention to notice the children killed by our air strikes; I yearn for the above ground world. This might make me naive or stupid or a victim of wishful thinking. But even if it does, the Holy of Holies beats this world all hollow.


That’s one reason why I’m moving closer in-town: to be near my church, to be able to pop into the cathedral for adoration, to be able to attend Christian education on Sunday mornings without getting up at the crack of dawn (which for me just ain’t happenin.) I need to be closer to things that feed my faith, to lose silly excuses like “it’s too far.”


The St. Patrick’s Breastplate seems a fitting prayer for the times we live in.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Remember to check out the rest of the blogs at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

4 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes: Puddleglum’s Remedy for Political Malaise

  1. Caroline, this is just beautiful. I’m sorry I missed it earlier (I barely glanced at my Bloglovin feed in July) and I’m so much sorrier about your divorce. And your grandparent’s death. I will pray for you. I wish you were still in the DC area, because I would so love to sit down for a nice long coffee and chat with you. Please take care. (And email me if you ever want to chat there or on the phone.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! If I were still in DC that’d be awesome. As it is, it means so much to hear. I’ve been enjoying your political pieces as rare cases of sanity; there’s a lot of insanity on the Internet about the election. I’ve also been enjoying the updates about your baby girl! She’s just too precious!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve just given me the idea of memorizing at least part of St. Patrick’s Breastplate as a way of helping me deal, not with the current political situation, but just my own mental/emotional wranglings. A friend of mine did that when she was going through scary medical treatments. Thank you for the prompt!


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