two minds: To love at all is to be vulnerable

CS Lewis

a haiku for this story of the love of two minds:

a mind who ponders

met a mirrored mind of his

late but not too late.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken…””For Jack the attraction was at first undoubtedly intellectual. Joy was the only woman whom he had met … ”

Thirty great quotes from C.S. Lewis

1. “Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” The Four Loves
2. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
3. “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” The Four Loves
4. “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
5. “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
6. “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
7. “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
8. “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
9. “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” The Four Loves
10. “Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”
11. “I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.”
12. “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” Mere Christianity
13. “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”
14. “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
15. “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
16. “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” The Problem of Pain
17. “Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
18. “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
19. “God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.”
20. “Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” The Silver Chair
21. “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” Mere Christianity
22. “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
23. “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”
24. “I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” The Silver Chair
25. “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
26. “I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
27. “You can make anything by writing.”
28. “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”
29. “He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.”
30. “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”

CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963), son of a solicitor and the daughter of an Anglican priest, was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. When he was four, his dog Jacksie was killed by a car, and he announced that his name was now Jacksie. At first, he would answer to no other name, but later accepted Jack, the name by which he was known to friends and family for the rest of his life.

As a boy, Lewis was fascinated with anthropomorphic animals; he fell in love with Beatrix Potter’s stories and often wrote and illustrated his own animal stories.  He also grew to love nature and its beauty. Lewis was raised in a religious family that attended the Church of Ireland. He became an atheist at age 15, though he later described his young self as being paradoxically “angry with God for not existing.” He eventually returned to Christianity, having been influenced by arguments with his Oxford colleague and friend J. R. R. Tolkien, whom he seems to have met for the first time on 11 May 1926, and by the book The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton. Lewis vigorously resisted conversion, noting that he was brought into Christianity like a prodigal, “kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape.” He described his last struggle in Surprised by Joy:

“You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”

From 1941 to 1943, Lewis spoke on religious programs broadcast by the BBC from London while the city was under periodic air raids. These broadcasts were appreciated by civilians and servicemen at that stage. For example, Air Chief Marshal Sir Donald Hardman wrote:

“The war, the whole of life, everything tended to seem pointless. We needed, many of us, a key to the meaning of the universe. Lewis provided just that.”

The broadcasts were anthologized in Mere Christianity. From 1941, he was occupied at his summer holiday weekends visiting R.A.F. stations to speak on his faith, invited by the R.A.F.’s Chaplain-in-Chief Maurice Edwards.

It was also during the same wartime period that Lewis was invited to become first President of the Oxford Socratic Club in January 1942, a position that he enthusiastically held until he resigned on appointment to Cambridge University in 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement.

In later life, Lewis corresponded and fell in love with Joy Davidman Gresham, an American writer of Jewish background, a former Communist, and a convert from atheism to Christianity. Lewis’s brother Warren described Joy:

“For Jack the attraction was at first undoubtedly intellectual. Joy was the only woman whom he had met … who had a brain which matched his own in suppleness, in width of interest, and in analytical grasp, and above all in humor and a sense of fun.”

After complaining of a painful hip, she was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, and the relationship developed to the point that they sought a Christian marriage. Since she was divorced, this was not straightforward in the Church of England at the time, but a friend, the Rev. Peter Bide, performed the ceremony at her bed in the Churchill Hospital on 21 March 1957. Gresham’s cancer soon went into remission, and the couple lived together as a family until 1960, when recurrence of the cancer caused her death.

He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia which is a series of seven fantasy novels for children and is considered a classic of children’s literature. Written between 1949 and 1954, the series is Lewis’s most popular work, having sold over 100 million copies in 41 languages, has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, stage and cinema.

(The above is excerpted from various web sources)

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