And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
(Ecc 12:12 KJV)
There’s a sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh and House at Pooh Corner. We can add to the thought above that there’s no end to the making of money by publishers. Yet the trustees of Milne’s estate have approved the book. But they also approved the Disney adaptations, as well, so we’ll have to see just how faithful the book is to Milne’s original.
The AP article about the release says, in part:
In the final chapter of “The House at Pooh Corner,” Christopher Robin asks for understanding, “whatever happens,” and makes Pooh promise he won’t forget about him, ever. Pooh does, and Milne then makes a promise of his own to the reader: Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them, there will always be a little boy and his bear playing in an enchanted place.
The book addresses topics such as the necessity of growing up and moving on, Nikolajeva says, and she believes that if Milne had wanted a sequel to the books, he would have written it himself.
“The whole point is that the boy has to go away from his childhood, from this very idyllic pastoral world of his childhood,” she said. “This is an absolutely perfect ending, and doing anything beyond this is pointless.” (source)
I agree with that final sentiment, but it is very sad, this end to childhood and leaving the “idyllic pastoral world.” It’s hard to say goodbye, yet St. Paul writes it is necessary: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1Co 13:11 KJV) It is the way of life, growing up, being a man. Of course, St. Paul was using this as an illustration of the shadow-world we now inhabit as compared to the glory and reality of the Kingdom of God.
But still…What of the idyllic, pastoral world of childhood? What of the innocence, the play, the delight in life and and exploration? Must it pass away? Must our lives be given over to work, to seriousness? Must we leave the nursery?
Our sadness of leaving the nursery behind, of saying “goodbye” to Pooh is spiritual, and true. We know that our homeland awaits, which is the incarnation–the antitype– of childhood in the fullness of idyllic, pastoral life. The Kingdom of God is innocence. It is delight. It is friends who understand, whose differences are cherished, whose loyalty and life go beyond understanding, where Christ is all in all. It is that place whereof we dreamed as children: to run and never tire, to soar on wings of eagles. The tears we feel saying goodbye to Pooh are tears of longing and repentance, tears acknowledging the world of grown-ups is broken.
I believe St. Paul’s words about knowing and understanding, but I cling to the words of Jesus, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3)