Sorrow

There is no evil in sorrow. True, it is not an essential good, a good in itself, like love; but it will mingle with any good thing, and is even so allied to good that it will open the door of the heart for any good.

— George MacDonald

A Series of Revolutions

“CHRISTENDOM has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”

–GK Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Walk

Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted—i.e., keep fulfilling all the obvious duties of your station (you really know quite well enough what they are!), asking forgiveness for each failure and then leaving it alone. You are in the right way. Walk—don’t keep on looking at it.

–CS Lewis, Collected Letters

Where He Is

“Observe this in our Lord’s dealings with men; He always takes a man where he is. He does not begin telling him things that he is incapable of understanding. There lay in the heart of Jesus a whole eternity of living truth which was incomprehensible and is incomprehensible to opinions generally. Some of us, when we try to teach men, very foolishly try to impress upon them things they are incapable of seeing and understanding. We have to take them where they are. Jesus began to question the young man; not that He didn’t know, but He must bring about a conscious unity of thought between the young man and Himself.”

(Report of George MacDonald’s sermon on Jesus and the rich young man, given in America; Newark, NJ.)

A Pageant Played in Vain

Watching the thought that moves

Within my conscient brain,

I learn how often that appearance proves

A pageant played in vain.

Holding what seems the helm,

I make a show to steer,

But winds, for worse and better, overwhelm

My purpose, and I veer.

Thus, if thy guidance reach

Only my head, then all

Hardest attempt of mine serves but to teach

How oddly the dice fall

To limbs, and loins, and heart,

Search with thy chemic beam,

Strike where the self I know lives apart,

Beneath the surface dream.

Break, Sun, my crusted earth

Pierce, razor-edged, within,

Where blind, immortal metals have their birth,

And crystals clear begin.

Thy spirit in secret flows

About our lives, in gloom,

The mother helping not nor hindering, grows

The child within the womb

~ CS Lewis

Something Beyond

I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Every one there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one’s eyes can see very far beyond that: lots of people’s eyes can see further than mine.

-CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Remembering Shakespeare

To be, or not to be- that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.

To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life.

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office, and the spurns

That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death-

The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn

No traveller returns- puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry

And lose the name of action.- Soft you now!

The fair Ophelia!- Nymph, in thy orisons

Be all my sins rememb’red.

Shakespeare, Hamlet