Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I am making my way through The Narnian, a biographical book about C.S. (Jack) Lewis. I am really enjoying it. In so many ways, I have followed in the thoughts of Jack Lewis through this grieving thing. Of course, A Grief Observed is one of the pivotal writings on the grief experience, wherein he journals his thoughts and feelings in the immediate weeks and months following the death of his beloved wife, Joy Gresham. This should be required reading for grievers - he has a way of putting the pain, fear, anger, disenchantment, confusion, etc. in to words in a way that cuts to the heart of the thing. His autobiographical look at spirituality, Surprised by Joy, was a thrilling read (despite the multitude of little known literary references and obscure vocabulary choices - do this one with a really good dictionary in hand).
Yes, yes, the hype around the movie. I get it. I enjoyed it. I did not, however, believe that the movie quite found the charm and wit and character that was included in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
In my regular rambling fashion, I am getting to the point. The point is this: I connect with the writings of Jack Lewis in a way that I don't connect with other writers. Perhaps it is because he was an Ulster-Protestant-Anglican, come atheist, come smells-and-bells-Anglican (most of my ancestors practiced liturgically based religions, from places in the British Isles). Perhaps it is my Brito-phile nature that draws me to the language that he uses. Maybe it has to do with my respect for his vast intelligence and experience.
Whatever it is, I really believe that Jack Lewis was one of the last great Renaissance men. And if you haven't done so yet, go and read all of the Chronicles of Narnia (start with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - do them in the order of publication, not in Narnian chronological order), then read A Grief Observed. And if you are still really interested in his writing, and are also interested in ideas surrounding faith, God, and spirituality, check out Surprised by Joy and then the demon-satire The Screwtape Letters. If this bit of reading doesn't get you thinking about what you feel and what you believe in, I don't know what will.
In this thing, you gotta know what you believe. You have to believe something, just to get through the day.
For me? I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. What does that mean for me, my family, my son? I have no idea. This is as far as I have gotten. Be certain that I will keep you posted on my state of enlightenment.