Monthly Archives: November 2016

on “A Grief Observed” by C.S. Lewis

I just finished the book – only 4 chapters,

so

I made sure not to read more than one every day or so…

kind of like

when I read his book,

“Screwtape Letters.”

I figured one chapter would be all that I could handle,

especially since I ‘felt’ God was leading me to read it.

Grief.

It’s been two years since my 1st pregnancy. Time sure does not wait for us to process loss…

I’m grateful C.S. Lewis shared his process…

it ended well.

I’m glad I read it.

I smiled several times in the last chapter.

Just in time to cry listening to a fellow church member share his loss of his brother-in-law.

God’s timing is perfect in all things. I’m glad He made this book stick out to me in this time. I was ready.

Crying is good.

Smiling is good.

I like how in the end, C.S. Lewis went for walks…

in order to sleep at night.

That piece of advice

would help MANY!

He was only married a short time,

and his wife died of cancer… there’s a movie, and yes, I saw that too, but so many years ago, I only have vague shadows of memory of it.

Here’s what stuck out to me from the book if you are interested in reading more…

In the foreword by Madeleine L’Engle, written in August 1988:

“The death of a beloved is an amputation.

Like Lewis, I, too, kept a journal…

It is all right to wallow in one’s journal;

it is a way of getting rid of self-pity and self-indulgence and self-centeredness.

What we work out in our journals we don’t take out on family and friends.”

Introduction written by Douglas H. Gresham:

“… one man’s studied attempts to come to grips with and in the end defeat the emotional paralysis of the most shattering grief of his life.

a small, tight-knit group which became known as ‘The Inklings,’ and which has left us with a legacy of literature. J.R.R. Tolkien, John Wain, Roger Lancelyn-Green, and Neville Coghill were among those who frequented these informal gatherings.

Helen Joy Gresham (nee Davidman), the ‘H.’ referred to in this book, was perhaps the only woman whom Jack ever met who was his intellectual equal and also as well-read and widely educated as he was himself. They shared another common factor: they were both possessed of total recall. Jack never forgot anything he had read, and neither did she.

Jack’s upbringing was a mixture of middle-class Irish… and English, set in the very begininngs of the twentieth century

the daughter of two lower-middle-class Jewish second generation immigrants, her father of Ukrainian, her mother of Polish origins, she was born and brought up in the Bronx in New York City.

I had yet to learn that all human relationships end in pain – it is the price that our imperfection has allowed satan<I refuse to dignify him w/capitalization.> to exact from us for the privilege of love. I had the resilience of youth upon which to fall when Mother died…

I had Jack to lean upon,

poor Jack only had me.

It took me almost thirty years to learn how to cry without feeling ashamed.

on reading through them some time later, he felt that they might well be of some help to others who were similarly afflicted with the turmoil of thought and feeling which grief forces upon us.

her death was delayed long enough for him to grow to love her so completely that she filled his world as the greatest gift that God had ever given him, and then she died and left him alone in a place that her presence in his life had created for him.

For further reading,

I recommend

‘Jack: C.S. Lewis and His Times’

by

George Sayer (Harper & Row, 1988; Crossway Books) as the best available biography of C.S. Lewis;

Lyle Dorsett’s biography of my mother,

‘And God Came In’

(Macmillan, 1983);

and

a viewpoint of our family life, my own book <Douglas H. Gresham>,

‘Lenten Lands’

(Macmillan, 1988; HarperSanFrancisco, 1994).”

Chapter One:

“… There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says.

Yet, I want others to be about me.

If only they would talk to one another and not to me.

I loathe the slightest effort. Not only writing but even reading a letter is too much.

It is easy to see why the lonely become untidy, finally dirty and disgusting.

We both knew we wanted something besides one another – quite a different kind of something, a quite different kind of want.

Her absence is like the sky,

spread over everything.

It is incredible how much happiness, even how much gaiety, we sometimes had together after all hope was gone. How long, how tranquilly, how nourishingly, we talked together that last night!

Even nature isn’t such a clown as that. She never plays exactly the same tune twice.

Chapter two:

Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.

I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get.

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.’

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? …

And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. …

It doesn’t seem worth starting anything. I can’t settle down.

Chapter Three:

Just this apathy, this dead flatness? 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?

Grief is like a bomber circling round and dropping its bombs each time the circle brings it overhead; physical pain is like the steady barrage on a trench in World War One, hours of it with no let-up for a moment. Thought is never static, pain often is.

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.

The less I mourn her the nearer I seem to her.

Chapter four:

Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.

I do all the walking I can, for I’d be a fool to go to bed not tired.

Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it.

The sense that some shattering and disarming simplicity is the real answer.

Attention is an act of will.”

:)

“<>” mark my comments

:)

I got it from the library,

inter-library loan.

It was donated by the Schlanker Funeral Home in April 2014 to the Montgomery City Public Library in Montgomery City, Missouri.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Family, FREE, Married-life, Medical, Movies, Nature, Ponderings..., Quotes, Relationships