Saturday, December 18, 2004

Grief: a Long Valley

This is the fourth--and the last--empty MS book I can find in the house; at least nearly empty, for there are some pages of very ancient arithmetic at the end by J. I resolve to let this limit my jottings. I will not start buying books for the purpose. In so far as this record was a defence against total collapse, a safety-valve, it has done some good. The other end I had in view turns out to have been based on a misunderstanding. I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process. It needs not a map but a history, and if I don't stop writing that history at some quite arbitrary point, there's no reason why I should never stop. There is something new to be chronicled every day. Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape. As I've already noted, not every bend does. Sometimes the surprise is the opposite one; you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you thought you had left behind miles ago. That is when you wonder whether the valley isn't a circular trench. But it isn't. There are partial recurrences, but the sequence doesn't repeat.
~C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, Chapter 4 (1961)


3 Comment(s):

At Sun Dec 19, 07:12:00 AM EST, Blogger Pilot Mom said...

Joy and effectiveness may seem to pause for a while as grief takes its course. There is nothing more natural than grief after a devastating loss. One would really rather die than to keep on living. It touches something so deep inside of oneself. For me God was the only explanation for my emotional survival and revival. Don't you think one of the most profound miracles of all is to live through something we thought would kill us? For a Christian, life is nenver about sameness, but always about change. That's why we must learn to survive and then once again thrive when change involves heartbreaking loss. When our hearts are hemorrhaging with grief and loss it is Christ who binds and compress it with a nail-scarred hand. I know that I never thought the sun would shine again but after a time you find yourself able to smile and laugh again. Life will not ever be the same, but there is the invitation from Christ to rise up to a new life, a more compassionate life, a wiser life, a more productive life. And joy does return!

At Sun Dec 19, 06:15:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Pilot Mom. Always nice to hear from you!


Every time I read "A Grief Observed" I get more out of it.

At Sun Dec 19, 06:22:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

That was me.

Argh! You'd think I'd know better than to leave anonymous comments on my own blog!


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