Monday, December 19, 2005

Sorrows of All the World

Lewis writes to his friend and former pupil Dom Bede Griffiths:

I think that though I am emotionally a fairly cheerful person my actual judgement of the world has always been what yours now is and so I have not been disappointed. The early loss of my mother, great unhappiness at school, and the shadow of the last war and presently the experience of it, had given me a very pessimistic view of existence. My atheism was based on it: and it still seems to me that far the strongest card in our enemies' hand is the actual course of the world: and that, quite apart from particular evils like wars and revolutions. [...]

It is one of the evils of rapid diffusion of news that the sorrows of all the world come to us every morning. I think each village was meant to feel pity for its own sick and poor whom it can help and I doubt if it is the duty of any private person to fix his mind on ills which he cannot help. (This may even become an escape from the works of charity we really can do to those we know).

A great many people (not you) do now seem to think that the mere state of being worried is in itself meritorious. I don't think it is. We must, if it so happens, give our lives for others: but even while we're doing it, I think we're meant to enjoy Our Lord and, in Him, our friends, our food, our sleep, our jokes, and the birds song and the frosty sunrise.

As about the distant, so about the future. It is very dark: but there's usually light enough for the next step or so.
~C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Volume II, (Letter of Dec. 20, 1946)

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