“One Day We Shall All Be Men And Women”


The semester is over, and so I will return to blogging, for however long. In honor of my return (I can do that, because it’s my name in the URL), I will post some of my favorite bits from George MacDonald’s Phantastes. It’s a story about a man who travels to Fairyland.

After a particularly close encounter with Ash Tree, a nasty creature who wishes nothing but his harm, the main character Anodos (which means something like “wanderer” in Greek) is rescued by Beech Tree. She appears to be a beautiful woman, and he awakens to find himself in her arms, her stroking his hair and murmuring “I may love him, I may love him; for he is a man, and I am only a beech tree.”

“Why do you call yourself a beech-tree?” I said.
“Because I am one,” she replied, in the same low, musical, murmuring voice.
“You are a woman,” I returned.
“Do you think so? Am I very like a woman then?”
“You are a very beautiful woman. Is it possible you should not know it?”
“I am very glad you think so. I fancy I feel like a woman sometimes. I do so to-night—and always when the rain drips from my hair. For there is an old prophecy in our woods that one day we shall all be men and women like you. Do you know anything about it in your region? Shall I be very happy when I am a woman? I fear not, for it is always in nights like these that I feel like one. But I long to be a woman for all that.”

I don’t know if MacDonald intended it, for all that he was fond of interweaving his faith into his writing, but this reminds me of the apostle John’s words, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). We are not yet what we will be. Someday we will all be men and women, as we ought to be. Until then, we wait with eager expectation, entrusting our not-yet-fully-formed souls to our faithful Creator while doing good.


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