Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis - honest missives

I find C.S. Lewis' ugly, vulnerable, raw realness refreshing in his classic, "A Grief Observed." He wrote four notebooks as a means of understanding in the grief torturing his mind after his wife died of cancer. His words weren't even meant to shared or published, and so he unleashed all the bitterness within, along with his demons because he had nothing else to lose. He was honest, which is rare to find nowadays. I almost wish I hadn't gotten a glimpse of this real human because he is longer the man I created in my mind of him to be. How can he be flawed? He's C.S. Lewis. He truly experienced the depth of the beauty and the gut-wrenching gifts that come from grief. I could relate to so much of what he felt when my dad died.

His confessions, written in great agony, reveal all my short-comings as a human because in many ways I haven't allowed myself to be human, to have flaws, at least to the outside world. Although I'm starting to get better at it. Nor have I allowed my recent writing to breathe, to weep, to get caught up in the chaos contained in the darkest caverns of my mind. I've weighted the organic thoughts down because I'm afraid if they surface, then I'll have no longer have them to leverage the pain, punishment and torture I need to keep in my hand or cards for the next time I need an excuse to forge my own path and separate myself from God. It's so ridiculous, as if by holding onto this gives me any power over my destiny or heaven forbid - God.

It's like Lewis speaks about his faith being like a "house of cards," and never realizing it until something real and extremely difficult happens like losing his wife. He journey examines what faith is only to discover what it is not.

We all must face the fragilness of our man-made realities, when the ugliness of our souls get exposed. Only a few will actually ever realize just how insignificant our dreams and plans are in comparison to to God's infinite wisdowm of this temporal states verses eternity.

Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is being sure and what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I heard once that if I'm feeling distant from God, it's because of sin in my life. I'm the one who has moved; not God.

I truly admire this prolific writer who holds nothing back. The first two journals from this book had me in a whirlwind of pain and worry that this man had gone to such a dark place that he might not ever recover. Keeping in mind that Lewis was an atheist before he came to know Christ.

"When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But, a rather special sort of 'no answer'. It is not the locked door. It is more like the silent, certainly not uncompassionate gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, 'Peace child; you don't understand.'

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswered. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask - half our great theological and metaphysical problems are like that."

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