Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An open letter to C. S. Lewis

In which I spill my guts to Clive.


Sir, I cannot wait to meet you.

Something tells me that we will be seated fairly close to one another, at the Banquet Feast.

I can't wait.

I read the Chronicles when I was very little, and then my life was void of your work for several years. The next thing I picked up was The Pilgrim's Regress, as a 12- or 13-year-old. I came across all your talk of the “sweet, unnameable desire” and was blown away. I suddenly realized that I wasn't alone. The thing that I had experienced for as long as I could remember was real. More importantly, it had a meaning; a very real and very sacred purpose.

Just as Psyche draws us towards the Grey Mountain with her own aching longing; just as Jewel beckons us ever on with his cry of “Further up and further in!”, so do you stand as a beacon of burning desire, to all those who care to stop and look. Can this desire be perverted in life; filled with frivolous and unsatisfying things? Of course. But, in the final analysis, this desire is the very force through which we will be saved and set free, for it is the desire for Heaven; for Home.

You were no stranger to desire; nor were you a stranger to true darkness. It runs, in all its forms, like a fine thread throughout all of your works:

'I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it'...”

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear...”

And now Psyche must go down into the deadlands to get beauty in a casket from the Queen of the Deadlands, from death herself; and bring it back to give it to Ungit so that Ungit will become beautiful....”

'It is not for nothing that you are named Ransom,' said the Voice...”

And yet, you do not present suffering and pain and heartache with the intention of glorifying or wallowing in it. You show us its purpose: to beautify, renew, redeem, sanctify. You never show us the malady of despair without also revealing the remedy of hope. You remind us that darkness will never have the last word. You remind us that our Lord is with us, in the midst of even the deepest night. He soars through the storm like an albatross and whispers, “Courage, dear heart,” to the Lucy Pevensie in us all.

You have inspired me as a writer, a lover, a Christian, a human being. I have no adequate words to express how you have impacted my life. That will have to wait until I, with my glorified body, stand before you, with your glorified body; with our glorified mouths we will converse in the tongues of Heaven (while drinking glorified tea).

Until then - thank you, thank you, thank you.



I found the above picture of Lewis' handsome face here.

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