Sunday, October 30, 2011

Final thoughts from C. S. Lewis's "A Grief Observed"

    My wife and I finished reading A Grief Observed today. I would advise anybody who wishes to speak about suffering, who needs to comfort somebody who is suffering, or who is suffering, to read this book. I'd like to quote some final thoughts from the last chapter. (My previous post included quotes from the other parts of the book.)

    "Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it. (p. 62)"

    "Not my idea of God, but God. Not my idea of H., but H. Yes, and also not my idea of my neighbour, but my neighbour. For don't we often make this mistake as regards people who are still alive - who are with us in the same room? Talking and acting not to the man himself but to the picture - almost the précis - we've made of him in our own minds? And he has to depart from it pretty widely before we even notice the fact. In real life - that's one way it differs from novels - his words and acts are, if we observe closely, hardly ever quite 'in character,' that is, in what we call his character. There's always a card in his hand we didn't know about. My reason for assuming that I do this to other people is the fact that so often I find them obviously doing it to me. (p. 67)"

    Concerning how we approach God, C. S. Lewis says, "If you're approaching Him not as the goal but as a road, not as the end but as a means, you're not really approaching Him at all. That's what was really wrong with all those popular pictures of happy reunions 'on the further shore'; not the simple-minded and very earthly images, but the fact that they make an End of what we can get only as a by-product of the true End. (p. 68)"

    This last quote reminds me of a blog post that I wrote concerning man's end, and the fact that, ultimately, God is man's true End.