In his essay, “It All Began with a Picture,” C. S. Lewis tells about the image of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels through a snowy woodland that came to him as a teenager. Dogged by the image, he finally decided at the age of 40 to write a story inspired by that image. And so, from that image we now have the wonderful Christian speculative fiction, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
I do believe that God plants in us signposts that point the way to our destiny and express in some way who we are in Him. Perhaps they are not as dramatic as Lewis' faun, they but are subtle urgings to move us forward and discover that we really aren't who we have been told by myopic self-interested humans, but beings more magnificent, imaginative, and marvelous, intended to be the family of the eternal God.
For me, my signposts are those notebooks, now lost, with their drawings of those wonderful submersibles and underwater battles that I began to draw in 1963 in my elementary school in rural North Carolina. I was so single-minded about drawing them that I wrote the US Navy, begging for information and bless their hearts, they sent a number of pamphlets about research submersibles. Greg, one of my high school buddies who later became a commercial diver, watched me draw during math class when Mr. Brown wasn't looking and dubbed me "Commander," perhaps because he could see me piloting a submarine someday.
So behind my writing desk over my right shoulder is a poster entitled, Submarines and U-Boats, depicting many of the early submarines that I drew and researched. Missing are the submarines designed by Simon Lake, but that is the subject for another blog post. It still excites me to see these marvelous machines, and it also reminds me of the visionaries who built them, plowing through scorn and opposition to open the way to the world beneath the sea.
Perhaps like these submariners, we who now write Christian speculative fiction can open up new worlds, new visions of God and the great love He has for us, so great that he sent His Son to plow through mankind's scorn and hell's opposition to become the Way to an eternal adventure in Him.