Blogging about C.S. Lewis seems to be a theme with me lately. I have no defense. I can only state the reality: Mere Christianity is an outstanding book.
So, in keeping with my precedent, here are a few more thoughts on the great work.
A couple days ago I read the chapter titled “Hope.” It outlined the different ways that people respond to disappointment in life. All men, Lewis writes, feel a desire they find impossible to meet on earth. Some men keep on trying to fill this void, moving from one form of pleasure to another, never satisfied. Other men quickly give up on ever quenching their thirst, becoming cynics. Christians, though, take a different approach.
The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water….If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasure satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside: I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.’
I thought of this passage this evening, after a day that was particularly trying. Today’s trial was not large. The closing date on my family’s would-be house was extended. We may still close next week, Lord willing.
It’s just that set-backs too often seem to be a theme in my life. It feels like I spend an inordinate amount of time striving, but instead of moving forward, I find that I’m back where I started, stuck in an unending stasis.
It really isn’t all that bad. But it was one of those days, the sort that leave you feeling spent on the whole.
Then I thought of Lewis’ chapter, which had so encouraged me earlier this week. It’s a good reminder to not focus too much on the earthly treasures, but to “keep alive in myself the desire for my true country.” I can and should hope for this house, though we may or may not get it. But at the same time, I can and should also hope for my home in my true country. Whatever happens today or in the next 50 years, I know I will not be disappointed in this hope.