Monday, November 22, 2010

Out of the Shadowlands

I'm not in the least the religious type. I want to be let alone to feel I'm my own master; but since the facts seemed to be just the opposite, I had to give in.
C.S. Lewis, quoted in Time Magazine, Dec. 6, 1963
Clive Staples "Jack" Lewis, 1898-1963
On November 22, 1963, the world lost a great man, a public figure whose words inspired many generations during his lifetime and in the 47 years since his death.

I've written a few times about C.S. Lewis, but my words don't capture the impact his writing has had on my life. Probably the best I can do by way of explanation is to say he told me about Aslan:
"It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"

"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.

"Are -are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund.

"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."

— from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Because I fell early and hard for The Chronicles of Narnia, my reading of Lewis's work has been mostly limited to his fiction. I began with that series in fifth grade (and have read it many times since), then read the Space Trilogy, The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters during my senior year in college, and Till We Have Faces just a few years ago. (His nonfiction titles, including Mere Christianity, Surprised by Joy, and A Grief Observed, have been on my reading list for quite a while.)

Lewis was an interesting person with an unusual personal story. He was single until his late 50s, when he married an American divorcée. That story is captured in Shadowlands, a movie I'd highly recommend. (Have a box of Kleenex nearby.)

Maybe I'll watch it again on his birthday, a week from today. And maybe between now and then, I'll finally read one of his nonfiction works.

Which one would you choose?



  1. Mere Christianity. It's mind-blowing, in my opinion.

  2. Four Loves is always a good quick read.


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