When in Doubt
"Blessed are they that expect little for they shall not be disappointed." ...Probably the safe rule will be "when in doubt what to do or say, do or say nothing." I feel this very much with my stepsons. I so easily meddle and gas: when all the time what will really influence them, for good or ill, is not anything I do or say but what I am. And this unfortunately one can't know and can't much alter, though God can. Two rules from William Law must be always before our minds.
1. "There can be no surer proof of a confirmed pride than a belief that one is sufficiently humble."
2. "I earnestly beseech all who conceive they have suffered an affront to believe that it is very much less than they suppose."
~C.S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady (letter of Feb 24, 1961)
On this day:
1921 Lewis read portions of his Chancellor's Prize essay "Optimism" at the ceremony of Encaenia in the Oxford Sheldonian Theatre.
The great event of MY term was of course "Optimism." I must thank you for your congratulations before going on.... "Prizemen," the Statutes say, "will read at the Encaenia portions of their exercises (I like that word) --their exercises chosen by the Professor of Poetry and the Public Orator." Sounds dam' fine, doesn't it? But the Statutes omit to mention the very cream of the whole situation -- namely that the prizemen will appear in full evening dress. Fancy me entering the Sheldonian at 11.30 a.m. on a fine June morning in a cap, gown, boiled shirt, pumps, white tie and tails. Of course it was a "broiling" day as the P'daytabird [nickname for Lewis's father] would say, and of course, for mere decency I had to wear an overcoat.
However, I managed to make myself audible, I am told, and beyond nearly falling as I entered the rostrum, I escaped with success.
Letter to his brother, Warren, July 1, 1921