C S Lewis Grief Observed Quotes

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No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
The death of a beloved is an amputation.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accept it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, hoever, turns out to be not a state but a process.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
It doesn't really matter whether you grip the arms of the dentist's chair or let your hands lie in your lap. The drill drills on.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Knock and it shall be opened.' But does knocking mean hammering and kicking the door like a maniac?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
What do people mean when they say, 'I am not afraid of God because I know He is good'? Have they never even been to a dentist?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Feelings, and feelings, and feelings. Let me try thinking instead.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they'll 'say something about it' or not. I hate if they do, and if they don't.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Talk to me about the truth of religion and I'll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
For in grief nothing "stays put." One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it? How often -- will it be for always? -- how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, "I never realized my loss till this moment"? The same leg is cut off time after time.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Aren't all these notes the senseless writings of a man who won't accept the fact that there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I once read the sentence 'I lay awake all night with a toothache, thinking about the toothache an about lying awake.' That's true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Grief ... gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn't seem worth starting anything. I can't settle down. I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not 'So there's no God after all,' but 'So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
We cannot understand. The best is perhaps what we understand least.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just that time when God can't give it: you are like the drowning man who can't be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask - half our great theological and metaphysical problems - are like that.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I need Christ, not something that resembles Him.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything. But no, that is not quite accurate. There is one place where her absence comes locally home to me, and it is a place I can't avoid. I mean my own body. It had such a different importance while it was the body of H.'s lover. Now it's like an empty house.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
They say, 'The coward dies many times'; so does the beloved. Didn't the eagle find a fresh liver to tear in Prometheus every time it dined?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Once very near the end I said, 'If you can -- if it is allowed -- come to me when I too am on my death bed.' 'Allowed!' she said. 'Heaven would have a job to hold me; and as for Hell, I'd break it into bits.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Nothing will shake a man-or at any rate a man like me-out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
It is hard to have patience with people who say, ‘There is no death’ or ‘Death doesn’t matter.’ There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as wel say that birth doesn’t matter.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
What we work out in our journals we don’t take out on family and friends.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
for the greater the love the greater the grief, and the stronger the faith the more savagely will Satan storm its fortress.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
If my house has collapsed at one blow, that is because it was a house of cards. The faith which 'took these things into account' was not faith but imagination.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Oh God, God, why did you take such trouble to force this creature out of its shell if it is now doomed to crawl back -- to be sucked back -- into it?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Slowly, quietly, like snow-flakes—like the small flakes that come when it is going to snow all night —little flakes of me, my impressions, my selections, are settling down on the image of her. The real shape wil be quite hidden in the end.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And no one ever told me about the laziness of grief. Except at my job--where the machine seems to run on much as usual--I loathe the slightest effort. Not only writing but even reading a letter is too much.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
When you are happy, so happy you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be — or so it feels— welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I sometimes think that shame, mere awkward, senseless shame, does as much towards preventing good acts and straightforward happiness as any of our vices can do.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he’s had his leg off is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he’ll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has ‘got over it.’ But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
It was too perfect to last,' so I am tempted to say of our marriage. But it can be meant in two ways. It may be grimly pessimistic - as if God no sooner saw two of His creatures happy than He stopped it ('None of that here!'). As if He were like the Hostess at the sherry-party who separates two guests the moment they show signs of having got into a real conversation. But it could also mean 'This had reached its proper perfection. This had become what it had in it to be. Therefore of course it would not be prolonged.' As if God said, 'Good; you have mastered that exercise. I am very pleased with it. And now you are ready to go on to the next.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And there’s also ‘To him that hath shall be given.’ After all, you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can’t give. Perhaps your own passion temporarily destroys the capacity.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
The most precious gift that marriage gave me was the constant impact of something very close and intimate, yet all the time unmistakably other, resistant - in a word, real.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
My idea of God is a not divine idea. It has to be shattered from time to time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence?..
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever." A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
The best is perhaps what we understand the least.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Did you ever know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left? You have stripped me even of my past, even of the things we never shared.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn't seem worth starting anything. I can't settle down. I yawn, fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I know the two great commandments, and I'd better get on with them.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Suppose that the earthly lives she and I shared for a few years are in reality only the basis for, or prelude to, or earthly appearance of, two unimaginable, supercosmic, eternal somethings.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
How wicked it would be, if we could, to call the dead back! She said not to me but to the chaplain, 'I am at peace with God.' She smiled, but not at me. Poi si torno all' eterna fontana.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
That’s true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I, or any mortal at any time, may be utterly mistaken as to the situation he is really in.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
For in grief nothing 'stays put.' One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
To see, in some measure, like God. His love and His knowledge are not distinct from one another, nor from Him. We could almost say He sees because He loves, and therefore loves although He sees.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Time itself is one more name for death.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
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.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
But I know this is impossible. I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get. The old life, the jokes, the drinks, the arguments, the lovemaking, the tiny, heartbreaking commonplace.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Reality the iconoclast once more. Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
On the rebound one passes into tears and pathos. Maudlin tears. I almost prefer the moments of agony. These are at least clean and honest. But the bath of self-pity, the wallow, the loathsome sticky-sweet pleasure of indulging it--that disgusts me
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Do I hope that if feeling disguises itself as thought I shall feel less?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
But those two circles, above all the point at which they touched, are the very thing I am mourning for, homesick for, famished for. You tell me 'she goes on.' But my heart and body are crying out, come back, come back. Be a circle, touching my circle on the plane of Nature. But I know this is impossible. I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Something quite unexpected has happened. It came this morning early. For various reasons, not in themselves at all mysterious, my heart was lighter than it had been for many weeks.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Her absence is like the sky spread over everything.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
It is arrogance in us to call frankness, fairness, and chivalry ‘masculine’ when we see them in a woman; it is arrogance in them to describe a man’s sensitiveness or tact or tenderness as ‘feminine.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
There was no sudden, striking, and emotional transition. Like the warming of a room or the coming of daylight. When you first notice them they have already been going on for some time.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
An odd by-product of my loss is that I’m aware of being an embarrassment to everyone I meet. At work, at the club, in the street, I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they’ll ‘say something about it’ or not. I hate it if they do, and if they don’t. Some funk it altogether. R. has been avoiding me for a week. I like best the well brought-up young men, almost boys, who walk up to me as if I were a dentist, turn very red, get it over, and then edge away to the bar as quickly as they decently can. Perhaps the bereaved ought to be isolated in special settlements like lepers.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can’t give.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Bridge-players tell me that there must be some money on the game 'or else people won't take it seriously'. Apparently it's like that. Your bid - for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity - will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high, until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I think I am beginning to understand why grief feels like suspense. It comes from the frustration of so many impulses that had become habitual. Thought after thought feeling after feeling, action after action, had H. for their object. Now their target is gone. I keep on through habit fitting an harrow to the string, then I remember and have to lay the bow down. So many roads lead thought to H. I set out on one of them. But now there's an impassable frontierpost across it. So many roads once; now so many culs de sac.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Still, there's no denying that in some sense I 'feel better,' and with that comes at once a short of shame, and a feeling that one is under a sort of obligation to cherish and foment and prolong one's unhappiness.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Talk to me about the truth of religion and I'll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand. Unless, of course, you can literally believe all that stuff about family reunions 'on the further shore,' pictured in entirely earthly terms. But that is all unscriptural, all out of bad hymns and lithographs. There's not a word of it in the Bible. And it rings false. We know it couldn't be like that. Reality never repeats. The exact same thing is never taken away and given back. How well the Spiritualists bait their hook! 'Things on this side are not so different after all.' There are cigars in Heaven. For that is what we should all like. The happy past restored.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
The grave and the image are equally links with the irrecoverable and symbols for the unimaginable.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Alone into the alone.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Come, what do we gain by evasions? We are under the harrow and can’t escape. Reality, looked at steadily, is unbearable. And how or why did such a reality blossom (or fester) here and there into the terrible phenomenon called consciousness? Why did it produce things like us who can see it and, seeing it, recoil in loathing? Who (stranger still) want to see it and take pains to find it out, even when no need compels them and even though the sight of it makes an incurable ulcer in their hearts? People like H. herself, who would have truth at any price.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Of course the cat will growl and spit at the operator and bite him if she can. But the real question is whether he is a vet or a vivisector.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Gran parte de una desgracia cualquiera consiste, por así decirlo, en la sombra de la desgracia, en la reflexión sobre ella. Es decir en el hecho de que no se limite uno a sufrir, sino que se vea obligado a seguir considerando el hecho de que sufre.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not, 'So there's no God after all,' but 'So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Why should the separation (if nothing else) which so agonizes the lover who is left behind be painless to the lover who departs?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Still, there's no denying that in some sense I 'feel better,' and with that comes at once a sort of shame, and a feeling that one is under a sort of obligation to cherish and foment and prolong one's unhappiness....What is behind it? Partly, no doubt, vanity. We want to prove to ourselves that we are lovers on the grand scale, tragic heroes; not just ordinary privates in the huge army of the bereaved, slogging along and making the best of a bad job.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Kind people have said to me, 'She is with God.' In one sense, that is most certain. She is, like God, incomprehensible and unimaginable.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more importantly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’ One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself. And
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Will there come a time when I no longer ask why the world is like a mean street, because I shall take the squalor as normal?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Thus up from the garden to the Gardener, from the sword to the Smith. To the life-giving Life and the Beauty that makes beautiful.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I need Christ, not something that resembles Him. I want H., not something that is like her. A really good photograph might become in the end a snare, a horror, and an obstacle.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And no one ever told me about the laziness of grief. Except at my job—where the machine seems to run on much as usual—I loathe the slightest effort.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Queremos demostrarnos a nosotros mismos que somos amantes superiores, héroes de tragedia griega. No seres corrientes y molientes engrosando el inmenso batallón de los afligidos y esforzándose por sacarle el mejor partido posible a una tarea ingrata.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
beneath the fragile and very human veneer of the organized churches of the world, there lies a truth so real and so pristine that all of man’s concocted philosophical posings tumble into ruin beside it.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
How often—will it be for always?—how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, ‘I never realized my loss till this moment’? The same leg is cut off time after time. The first plunge of the knife into the flesh is felt again and again.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process. It needs not a map but a history, and if I don't stop writing that history at some quite arbitrary point, there's no reason why I should ever stop. There is something new to be chronicled every day. Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
How easily I might have misjudged another man in the same situation? I might have said, "He's got over it. He's forgotten his wife," when the truth was, "He remembers her better because he has partly got over it.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And then one babbles - "If only I could bear it, or the worst of it, or any of it, instead of her." But one can't tell how serious that bid is, for nothing is staked on it. If it suddenly became a real possibility, then, for the first time, we should discover how seriously we had meant it. But is it ever allowed? It is allowed to One, we are told, and I find I can now believe again, that He has done vicariously whatever can be done. He replies to our babble, "You cannot and you dare not. I could and dared.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it. Praise in due order; of Him as the giver, of her as the gift. Don’t we in praise somehow enjoy what we praise, however far we are from it? I must do more of this.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Though I have forgotten the reason, there is spread over everything a vague sense of wrongness, of something amiss. Like in those dreams where nothing terrible occurs—nothing that would sound even remarkable if you told it at breakfast-time—but the atmosphere, the taste, the whole thing is deadly. So with this.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Lord, are these your real terms? Can I meet H. again only if I learn to love you some much that I don't care whether I meet her or not? Consider, Lord, how it looks to us. What would anyone think of me if I said to the boys, 'No toffee now. But when you've grown up and don't really want toffee you shall have as much of it as you choose'? If I knew that to be eternally divided from H. and eternally forgotten by her would add a greater joy and splendour to her being, of course I'd say 'Fire ahead.' Just as if, on earth, I could have cured her cancer by never seeing her again, I'd have arranged never to see her again. I'd have had to. Any decent person would. But that's quite different. That's not the situation I'm in. 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 a 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.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I look up at the night sky. Is anything more certain than that in all those vast times and spaces, if I were allowed to search them, I should nowhere find her face, her voice, her touch? She died. She is dead. Is the word so difficult to learn?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Sometimes, Lord, one is tempted to say that if you wanted us to behave like the lilies of the field you might have given us an organization more like theirs. But that, I suppose, is just your...grand enterprise. To make an organism which is also a spirit; to make that terrible oxymoron, a ‘spiritual animal.’ To take a poor primate, a beast with nerve-endings all over it, a creature with a stomach that wants to be filled, a breeding animal that wants its mate, and say, ‘Now get on with it. Become a god.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence. ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? ‘Them as asks’ (at any rate ‘as asks too importunately’) don’t get. Perhaps can’t.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process. It needs not a map but a history, and if I don’t stop writing that history at some quite arbitrary point, there’s no reason why I should ever stop.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Dicen que los cobardes mueren muchas veces: eso les pasa a los seres amados.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Sometimes it is hard not to say "God forgive God." Sometimes, it is hard to say so much. But if our faith is true, He didn't. He crucified Him.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
But her voice is still vivid. The remembered voice—that can turn me at any moment to a whimpering child.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Cut one off, or cut both off simultaneously. Either way, mustn’t the conversation stop?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Fate (or whatever it is) delights to produce a great capacity and then frustrate it.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And now that I come to think of it, there's no practical problem before me at all. I know the two great commandments, and I'd better get on with them.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Already, less than a month after her death, I can feel the slow, insidious beginning of a process that will make the H. I think of into a more and more imaginary woman. Founded on fact, no doubt. I shall put in nothing fictitious (or I hope I shan't). But won't the composition inevitably become more and more my own? The reality is no longer there to check me, to pull me up short, as the real H. so often did, so unexpectedly, by being so thoroughly herself and not me.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
For a good wife contains so many persons in herself. What was H. not to me? She was my daughter and my mother, my pupil and my teacher, my subject and my sovereign; and always, holding all these in solution, my trusty comrade, friend, shipmate, fellow-soldier. My mistress; but at the same time all that any man friend (and I have good ones) has ever been to me. Perhaps more.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Aren’t all these notes the senseless writhings of a man who won’t accept the fact that there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it? Who still thinks there is some device (if only he could find it) which will make pain not to be pain.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Why do I make room in my mind for such filth and nonsense? Do I hope that if feeling disguises itself as thought I shall feel less? Aren't all these notes the senseless writhings of a man who won't accept the fact that there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it? Who still thinks there is some device (if only he could find it) which will make pain not to be pain. It doesn't really matter whether you grip the arms of the dentist's chair or let your hands lie in your lap. The drill drills on.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Why do I make room in my mind for such filth and nonsense? Do I hope that if feeling disguises itself as thought I shall feel less? Aren’t all these notes the senseless writhings of a man who won’t accept the fact that there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it? Who still thinks there is some device (if only he could find it) which will make pain not to be pain. It doesn’t really matter whether you grip the arms of the dentist’s chair or let your hands lie in your lap. The drill drills on. And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn’t seem worth starting anything. I can’t settle down. I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness. One flesh. Or, if you prefer, one ship. The starboard engine has gone. I, the port engine, must chug along somehow till we make harbour. Or rather, till the journey ends. How can I assume a harbour? A lee shore, more likely, a black night, a deafening gale, breakers ahead—and any lights shown from the land probably being waved by wreckers. Such was H.’s landfall. Such was my mother’s. I say their landfalls; not their arrivals.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I see the rowan berries reddening and don’t know for a moment why they, of all things, should be depressing. I hear a clock strike and some quality it always had before has gone out of the sound. What’s wrong with the world to make it so flat, shabby, worn-out looking?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
They say an unhappy man wants distractions—something to take him out of himself. Only as a dog-tired man wants an extra blanket on a cold night; he’d rather lie there shivering than get up and find one. It’s easy to see why the lonely become untidy, finally, dirty and disgusting.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence. ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? ‘Them as asks’ (at any rate ‘as asks too importunately’) don’t get. Perhaps can’t.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
It is hard to have patience with people who say, ‘There is no death’ or ‘Death doesn’t matter.’ There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter. I look up at the night sky. Is anything more certain than that in all those vast times and spaces, if I were allowed to search them, I should nowhere find her face, her voice, her touch? She died. She is dead. Is the word so difficult to learn?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
The best is perhaps what we understand least.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Is it rational to believe in a bad God? Anyway, in a God so bad as all that? The Cosmic Sadist, the spiteful imbecile?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Don’t talk to me about the consolations of religion,” Lewis writes, “or I shall suspect that you do not understand
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I had my miseries, not hers; she had hers, not mine. The end of hers would be the coming-of-age of mine
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Fate (or whatever it is) delights to produce a great capacity and then frustrate it. Beethoven went deaf. By our standards a mean joke; the monkey trick of a spiteful imbecile.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I had yet to learn that all human relationships end in pain—it is the price that our imperfection has allowed Satan to exact from us for the privilege of love.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
But then of course I know perfectly well that He can't be used as a road. 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. Lord, are these your real terms? Can I meet H. again only if I learn to love you so much that I don't care whether I meet her or not?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And, 'Getting over it so soon?' But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he's had his leg off it is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he'll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has 'got over it.' But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it. Praise in due order; of Him as the giver, of her as the gift. Don’t we in praise somehow enjoy what we praise, however far we are from it?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape. As I’ve already noted, not every bend does. Sometimes the surprise is the opposite one; you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you thought you had left behind miles ago. That is when you wonder whether the valley isn’t a circular trench. But it isn’t. There are partial recurrences, but the sequence doesn’t repeat.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get. The old life, the jokes, the drinks, the arguments, the lovemaking, the tiny, heartbreaking commonplace. On any view whatever, to say, ‘H. is dead,’ is to say, ‘All that is gone.’ It is a part of the past. And the past is the past and that is what time means, and time itself is one more name for death, and Heaven itself is a state where ‘the former things have passed away.’ Talk
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again; the mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare unreality, the wallowed-in tears. For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’ One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it? How often—will it be for always?—how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, ‘I never realized my loss till this moment’? The same leg is cut off time after time. The first plunge of the knife into the flesh is felt again and again. They
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem. And,
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Feelings, and feelings, and feelings. Let me try thinking instead. From the rational point of view, what new factor has H's death introduced into the problem of the universe? What grounds has it given me for doubting all that I believe? I knew already that these things, and worse, happened daily. I would have said that I had taken them into account. I had been warned--I had warned myself--not to reckon on worldly happiness. We were even promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accepted it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course, it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not in imagination. Yes, but should it, for a sane man, make quite such a difference as this? No. And it wouldn't for a man whose faith had been real faith and whose concern for other people's sorrow had been real concern. The case is too plain. If my house has collapsed at one blow, that is because it was a house of cards. The faith that 'took these things into account' was not faith but imagination....I thought I trusted the rope until it mattered to me whether it would bear me. Now it matters, and I find it didn't.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Today I had to meet a man I haven't seen for ten years. And all that time I had thought I was remembering him well- how he looked and spoke and the sort of things he said. The first five minutes of the real man shattered the image completely. Not that he had changed. On the contrary. I kept on thinking, "Yes, of course, of course. I'd forgotten that he thought that- or disliked this, or knew so-and-so- or jerked his head back that way." I had known all these things once and I recognized them the moment I met them again. But they had all faded out of my mental picture of him, and when they were all replaced by his actual presence the total effect was quite astonishingly different from the image I had carried about with me for those ten years. How can I hope that this will not happen to my memory of H.? That it is not happening already? Slowly, quietly, like snow-flakes- like the small flakes that come when it is going to snow all night- little flakes of me, my impressions, my selections, are settling down on the image of her. The real shape will be quite hidden in the end. Ten minutes- ten seconds- of the real H. would correct all this. And yet, even if those ten seconds were allowed me, one second later the little flakes would begin to fall again. The rough, sharp, cleansing tang of her otherness is gone.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can’t give it: you are like the drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again; the mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare unreality, the wallowed-in tears. For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’ One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats.
C.S. Lewis
You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence. ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? ‘Them as asks’ (at any rate ‘as asks too importunately’) don’t get. Perhaps can’t.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence. ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? ‘Them as asks’ (at any rate ‘as asks too importunately’) don’t get. Perhaps can’t.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he's had his leg off it is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he'll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has 'got over it.' But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipise. Wouldnt you then first discover how much you really trusted it? The same with people.
C.S. Lewis
Gran parte de una desgracia cualquiera consiste, por así decirlo, en la sombra de la desgracia, en la reflexión sobre ella. Es decir en el hecho de que no se limite uno a sufrir, sino que se vea obligado a seguir considerando el hecho de que sufre. Yo cada uno de mis días interminables no solamente lo vivo en pena, sino pensando en lo que es vivir en pena un día detrás de otro.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Aren’t all these notes the senseless writhings of a man who won’t accept the fact that there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it? Who still thinks there is some device (if only he could find it) which will make pain not to be pain. It doesn’t really matter whether you grip the arms of the dentist’s chair or let your hands lie in your lap. The drill drills on.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn’t seem worth starting anything. I can’t settle down. I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
There is no death’ or ‘Death doesn’t matter.’ There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter. I look up at the night sky. Is anything more certain than that in all those vast times and spaces, if I were allowed to search them, I should nowhere find her face, her voice, her touch? She died. She is dead. Is the word so difficult to learn?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I think I am beginning to understand why grief feels like suspense. It comes from the frustration of so many impulses that had become habitual. Thought after thought, feeling after feeling, action after action, had H. for their object. Now their target is gone. I keep on through habit fitting an arrow to the string, then I remember and have to lay the bow down. So many roads lead thought to H. I set out on one of them. But now there’s an impassable frontierpost across it. So many roads once; now so many culs de sac.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Una sociedad, una comunión, basada en la pura inteligencia no tendría por qué ser fría, desolada e inhóspita. Claro que tampoco resultaría ser eso a lo que la gente se refiere cuando usa palabras como espiritual, místico o sagrado. Si yo pudiera tener un atisbo de ello sería como…; bueno, casi me da miedo echar mano de los adjetivos que puedo utilizar. ¿Enérgico? ¿Entusiasta? ¿Atinado? ¿Alerta? ¿Intenso? ¿Despierto? No sé, por encima de todo, sólido. Totalmente de fiar. Firme. Los muertos no se andan con tonterías. Cuando digo «intelecto», incluyo la voluntad. La atención es un acto de voluntad. La inteligencia en acción es voluntad por excelencia.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
El hecho de haber alcanzado un grado menor de malentendido sobre lo que debe ser la inteligencia pura, no ha de hacerme llevarlo demasiado lejos. También cuenta, valga lo que valga, la resurrección de la carne. No somos capaces de entender. Puede que lo que menos entendamos sea lo mejor. ¿No se ha debatido ya, en tiempos, si la visión final de Dios era más un acto de inteligencia que de amor? Ésta es probablemente otra de esas preguntas disparatadas. ¡Qué cruel sería convocar a los muertos caso de que pudiéramos hacerlo!
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
the greater the love the greater the grief, and the stronger the faith the more savagely will Satan storm its fortress.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And then one babbles - "If only I could bear it, or the worst of it, or any of it, instead of her." But one can't tell how serious that bid is, for nothing is staked on it. If it suddenly became a real, possibility, then, for the first time, we should discover how seriously we meant it. But is it ever allowed? It was allowed to One, we are told, and I find I can now believe again, that He has done vicariously whatever can be so done. He replies to our babbles, "You cannot and you dare not. I could and dared.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Si a mí me hubieran importado -como creí que me importaban- las tribulaciones de la gente, no me habría sentido tan disminuido cuando llegó la hora de mi propia tribulación
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Uno de los milagros del amor es tener una visión un poco parecida a la de Dios. El amor de Dios y su sabiduría no se diferencian entre sí ni de Él mismo. Casi podríamos decir que ve porque ama, y por lo tanto que ama, a pesar de que ve.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Toda la realidad es iconoclasta. La Amada terrenal, incluso en vida, triunfa incesantemente sobre la mera idea que se tiene de ella. Y quiere uno que así sea. Se la quiere con todas sus barreras, todos sus defectos y toda su imprevisibilidad. Es decir, es su directa e independiente realidad. Y esto, no una imagen o un recuerdo, es lo que debemos seguir amando, después de que ha muerto. Pero «esto» resulta ahora inimaginable. En este sentido H. y todos los muertos son como Dios. En este sentido, amarla a ella se ha convertido, dentro de ciertos límites, como amarle a Él. En los dos casos tengo que hacer que el amor abra sus brazos y sus manos a la realidad (sus ojos aquí no cuentan), a través y por encima de toda la cambiante fantasmagoría de mis pensamientos, pasiones e imaginaciones. No debo conformarme con la fantasmagoría misma y adorarla en lugar de Él o amarla en lugar de ella.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Se cree a veces que los muertos nos están mirando. Y pensamos, con razón o sin ella, que, si nos miran, lo harán con mucha mayor claridad que antes. ¿Se dará cuenta ahora H. de cuánto espumarajo y oropel había en lo que tanto ella como yo llamábamos «mi amor»? Así sea. Mírame sin piedad, querida. Ni aunque pudiera hacerlo me escondería. No solíamos idealizarnos uno a otro. No teníamos secretos uno para el otro. Conocías de sobra mis rincones más putrefactos. Si ahora descubres algo aún peor, soy capaz de soportarlo. Y tú también. Rebate, explícate, búrlate de mí, perdóname. Porque este es uno de los milagros del amor; que consigue dar a la pareja –pero quizá más aún a la mujer– el poder de penetrar en sus propios engaños, y a pesar de todo no vivir desengañada.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
El regalo más precioso que me hizo el matrimonio fue el de brindarme un choque constante con algo muy cercano e íntimo pero al mismo tiempo indefectiblemente otro y resistente, real, en una palabra.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Si de repente «sufrir en vez de ella» se convirtiera en una posibilidad real, entonces por primera vez nos daríamos cuenta de la importancia de su significado. ¿Se nos ha permitido esto alguna vez? Se le permitió a una Persona (Jesucristo), según nos han contado, y me doy cuenta de que ahora puedo volver a creer que Él hizo en nombre de otro todo lo que es posible hacer en ese sentido. Y Él contesta a nuestro balbuceo: «No puedes y no te atreves. Yo pude y me atrevi.»
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
El amor en vida va siempre acompañado de emoción, pero no porque sea una emoción en sí mismo ni porque necesite ir acompañado de ella, sino porque nuestras almas animales, nuestro sistema nervioso y nuestra imaginación se ven precisados a responder al amor de esa manera.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
For in grief nothing stays put. One keeps emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Come, what do we gain by evasions? We are under the harrow and can’t escape. —C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
Flynn Berry (Under the Harrow)
A razão para a diferença é simples demais. Você nunca tem consciência do quanto de fato acredita em alguma coisa enquanto a verdade ou a falsidade dessa coisa não se torna uma questão de vida ou morte para você. É fácil dizer que você acredita que uma corda seja fora e segura, enquanto a está usando apenas para amarrar uma caixa; mas imagine que deva dependurar-se nessa corda sobre um precipício. Será que não iria primeiro descobrir o quanto na verdade confia nela?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Jogadores de bridge dizem-me que deve haver um pouco de dinheiro no jogo "ou, então, as pessoas não vão levá-lo a sério". Aparentemente é assim. Sua aposta no jogo - Deus ou nenhum Deus, um bom Deus ou o Sádico Cósmico, a vida eterna ou a não-entidade - não será séria se nela nada de valor estiver em risco. E você nunca perceberá como ela era séria, enquanto as apostas não estiverem muitíssimo altas, enquanto você não descobrir que está jogando não pelas fichas, nem pelos seis centavos, mas por todo centavo que tem no mundo.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process. It needs not a map but a history, and if I don't stop writing that history at some quite arbitrary point, there's no reason why I should ever stop. There is something new to be chronicled every day.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Still, there's no denying that in some sense I "feel better," and with that comes at once a sort of shame, and a feeling that one is under a sort of obligation to cherish and foment and prolong one's unhappiness. I've read about that in books, but I never dreamed I should feel it myself. I am sure H. wouldn't approve of it. She'd tell me not to be a fool. So I'm pretty certain, would God. What is behind it?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
For me at any rate the programme is plain. I will turn to her as often as possible in gladness. I will even salute her with a laugh. The less I mourn her the nearer I seem to her.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I wrote the other night that bereavement is not the truncation of married love but one of its regular phases--like the honeymoon. What we want is to live our marriage well and faithfully through that phase too. If it hurts (and it certainly will) we accept the pains as a necessary part of this phase. We don't want to escape them at the price of desertion or divorce. Killing the dead a second time. We were one flesh. Now that it has been cut in two, we don't want to pretend that it is whole and complete. We will be still married, still in love. Therefore we shall still ache.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief. Apparently the faith--I thought it faith--which enables me to pray for the other dead has seemed strong only because I have never really cared, not desperately, whether they existed or not. Yet I thought I did.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Happiness had not come to her very early in life. A thousand years of it would not have made her blasé. Her palate for all the joys of sense and intellect and spirit was fresh and unspoiled. Nothing would have been wasted on her. She liked more things and like them more than anyone I have known.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
May this not be in one way better than preserving and caressing an image in one's own memory? The grave and the image are equally links with the irrecoverable and symbols for the unimaginable. But the image has the added disadvantage that it will do whatever you want. it will smile or frown, be tender, gay, ribald, or argumentative just as your mood demands. It is a puppet of which you hold the strings. Not yet of course.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
In which sense may it be a house of cards? Because the things I am believing are only a dream, or because I only dream that I believe them?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
You can't see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can't, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can't get the best out of it. "Now! Let's have a good talk," reduces everyone to silence, "I must get a good sleep tonight" ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I think I am beginning to understand why grief feels like suspense. It comes from the frustration of so many impulses that had become habitual. Thought after thought, feeling after feeling, action after action, had H. for their object. Now their target is gone. I keep on through habit fitting an arrow to the string; then I remember and have to lay the bow down. So many roads lead thought to H. I se out on one of them. But now there's an impassable frontier-post across it. So many roads once; no so many culs de sac.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
You knew most of the rotten places in me already. If you now see anything worse, I can take it. So can you. Rebuke, explain, mock, forgive. For this is one of the miracles of love; it gives--to both, but perhaps especially to the woman--a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
When I say "intellect" I will include will. Attention is an act of will. Intelligence in action is will par excellence. What seemed to meet me was full of resolution.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape. As I've already noted, not every bend does. Sometimes the surprise is the opposite one; you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you thought you had left behind miles ago. That is when you wonder whether the valley isn't a circular trench.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I was getting from it the only pleasure a man in anguish can get; the pleasure of hitting back.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Thought is never static; pain often is.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
How often–will it be for always?–how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, ‘I never realized my loss till this moment’? The same leg is cut off time after time. The first plunge of the knife into the flesh is felt again and again. They say ‘The coward dies many times’; so does the beloved. Didn’t the eagle find a fresh liver to tear in Prometheus every time it dined?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
The less I mourn her the nearer I seem to her.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn't seem worth starting anything. I can't settle down. I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
had my miseries, not hers; she had hers, not mine. The end of hers would be the coming-of-age of mine. We were setting out on different roads. This cold truth, this terrible traffic-regulation
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I suppose if one were forbidden all salt one wouldn’t notice it much more in any one food than in another.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
To make an organism which is also a spirit; to make that terrible oxymoron, a ‘spiritual animal.’ To take a poor primate, a beast with nerve-endings all over it, a creature with a stomach that wants to be filled, a breeding animal that wants its mate, and say, ‘Now get on with it. Become a god.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
All reality is iconoclastic.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Can a mortal ask a question which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Poi si tornò all’ eterna fontana. Then she turned back to the eternal fountain.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)