A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
Lewis was married for a brief time to a divorcee named Joy Gresham. They spent four very happy years together, always overshadowed by Joy’s terminal illness until she passed away in 1960. C.S. Lewis, so moved by the precious mortality of life, penned his doubts, fears, and overwhelming grief in a private collection of notebooks found around his home. Later on his step-son would ask him to publish those thoughts and ponderings.
Madeleine L’Engle wrote in her introduction to a newer edition: “I am grateful to Lewis for having the courage to yell, to doubt, to kick at God in angry violence. This is a part of a healthy grief which is not often encouraged. It is helpful indeed that C. S. Lewis, who has been such a successful apologist for Christianity, should have the courage to admit doubt about what he has so superbly proclaimed. It gives us permission to admit our own doubts, our own angers and anguishes, and to know that they are part of the soul’s growth.”
I have read so very many of his works and wish to read many more before I am finished. However, none of the works I’ve read by the Christian apologist and very intelligent man ever comes close to reminding me just how human C.S. Lewis really was. His work Mere Christianity alone was enough to intimidate me a bit. I loved it, but I wondered if Lewis EVER doubted anything about the Christian life. His words were so complex and yet so simple, I thought surely he had never questioned his faith at all.
While I never would have wished him the grief he suffered in the death of his young wife, I definitely am glad that I could see the heart of this great man of faith and know that even he had his Job moments.