How Shall I Find Him?

“The cry of the human heart in all ages and in every moment is, ‘Where is God and how shall I find him?’ — No, friend, I will not accept your testimony to the contrary — not though you may be as well fitted as ever one of eight hundred millions to come forward with it. You take it for granted that you know your own heart because you call it yours, but I say that your heart is a far deeper thing than you know or are capable of knowing. Its very nature is hid from you.

“I use but a poor figure when I say that the roots of your heart go down beyond your knowledge — whole eternities beyond it — into the heart of God. If you have never yet made one discovery in your heart, your testimony concerning it is not worth a tuft of flue; and if you have made discoveries in it, does not the fact reveal that it is but little known to you, and that there must be discoveries innumerable yet to be made in it?

“To him who has been making discoveries in it for fifty years, the depths of his heart are yet a mystery—a mystery, however, peopled with loveliest hopes. I repeat whether the man knows it or not, his heart in its depths is ever crying out for God.”

–George MacDonald, Weighed and Wanting (Ch. 5)


The Quiet Ones

Been thinking lately about how many good people there are who unapplauded and unappreciated go about the daily and often daunting chore of simply doing the right thing. In the face of the multitude of challenges, setbacks and personal heartbreak, and often at the sacrifice of their own personal needs and desires. It is so easy to simply assume things are running along perfectly, because usually good people don’t complain about stuff, they just handle their business quietly.

May you continue to find courage and strength to meet each new day, and may the joys that touch your lives shine bright and warm your heart. You bless us with your efforts, shine as a lovely example in a sometime dark world and make the world a better place to be. 🙂

The Shapes

A Confession

I am so coarse, the things the poets see

Are obstinately invisible to me.

For twenty years I’ve stared my level best

To see if evening — any evening — would suggest

A patient etherized upon a table;

In vain. I simply wasn’t able.

To me each evening looked far more

Like the departure from a silent, yet a crowded, shore

Of a ship whose freight was everything, leaving behind

Gracefully, finally, without farewells, marooned mankind.

Red dawn behind a hedgerow in the east

Never, for me, resembled in the least

A chilblain on a cocktail-shaker’s nose;

Waterfalls don’t remind me of torn underclothes,

Nor glaciers of tin-cans. I’ve never known

The moon look like a hump-backed crone–

Rather, a prodigy, even now

Not naturalized, a riddle glaring from the Cyclops’ brow

Of the cold world, reminding me on what a place

I crawl and cling, a planet with no bulwarks, out in space.

Never the white sun of the wintriest day

Struck me as un crachat d’estaminet.

I’m like that odd man Wordsworth knew, to whom

A primrose was a yellow primrose, one whose doom

Keeps him forever in the list of dunces,

Compelled to live on stock responses,

Making the poor best that I can

Of dull things… peacocks, honey, the Great Wall, Aldebaran

Silver weirs, new-cut grass, wave on the beach, hard gem,

The shapes of horse and woman, Athens, Troy, Jerusalem.

– C.S. Lewis

Lewis found Mr. Eliot’s Comparison of an evening to a patient on an operating table unpleasant, one example of the decay of proper feelings. He mistrusted, in fact, the free play of mere immediate experience. He believed, rather, that man’s attitudes and actions should be governed by, what he calls in the same poem, Stock Responses (e.g. love is sweet, death bitter, and virtue lovely). Man must, for his own safety and pleasure, be taught to copy the Stock Responses in hopes that he may, by willed imitation, make the proper responses. He found this perfectly summed up in Aristotle’s “We learn how to do things by doing the things we are learning to do.”

(Exerpt from the preface to Poems, by Walter Hooper.)

The Only Comfort

God is the only comfort. He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger—according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way. . . Of course, I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay I have been describing, and it is no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay. In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.

From Mere Christianity

Compiled in Words to Live By

Two Stubborn Pieces of Iron

“VERY few people ever state properly the strong argument in favour of marrying for love or against marrying for money. The argument is not that all lovers are heroes and heroines, nor is it that all dukes are profligates or all millionaires cads. The argument is this, that the differences between a man and a woman are at the best so obstinate and exasperating that they practically cannot be got over unless there is an atmosphere of exaggerated tenderness and mutual interest. To put the matter in one metaphor, the sexes are two stubborn pieces of iron; if they are to be welded together, it must be while they are red-hot. Every woman has to find out that her husband is a selfish beast, because every man is a selfish beast by the standard of a woman. But let her find out the beast while they are both still in the story of “Beauty and the Beast”. Every man has to find out that his wife is cross—that is to say, sensitive to the point of madness: for every woman is mad by the masculine standard. But let him find out that she is mad while her madness is more worth considering than anyone else’s sanity.”

~G.K. Chesterton: ‘Two Stubborn Pieces of Iron.’

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A Mighty Hope

“Christ is the pledge that I shall one day see;

That one day, still with him, I shall awake,

And know my God, at one with him and free.

O lordly essence, come to life in me;

The will-throb let me feel that doth me make;

Now have I many a mighty hope in thee,

Then shall I rest although the universe should quake.”

– George MacDonald, The Diary of an Old Soul

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