Wednesday, July 13, 2016

From Lewis's Pen: Till You Love God

From The Great Divorce:
“‘I’m afraid the first step is a hard one,’ said the Spirit. ‘But after that you’ll go on like a house on fire. You will become solid enough for Michael to perceive you when you learn to want Someone Else besides Michael. I don’t say ‘more than Michael’, not as a beginning. That will come later. It's only the little germ of a desire for God that we need to start the process.’

‘Oh, you mean religion and all that sort of thing? This is hardly the moment... and from you, of all people. Well, never mind. I'll do whatever's necessary. What do you want me to do? Come on. The sooner I begin it, the sooner they'll let me see my boy. I'm quite ready.’

‘But, Pam, do think! Don't you see you are not beginning at all as long as you are in that state of mind? You're treating God only as a means to Michael. But the whole thickening treatment consists in learning o want God for His own sake.’

‘You wouldn't talk like that if you were a Mother.’

‘You mean, if I were only a mother. But there is no such thing as being only a mother. You exist as Michael's mother only because you first exist as God's creature. That relation is older and closer. No, listen, Pam! He also loves. He also has suffered. He also has waited a long time.’

‘If He loved me He'd let me see my boy. If He loved me why did He take away Michael from me? I wasn't going to say anything about that. But it's pretty hard to forgive, you know.’

‘But He had to take Michael away. Partly for Michael's sake. . . .’

‘I’m sure I did my best to make Michael happy. I gave up my whole life....’

‘Human beings can't make one another really happy for long. And secondly, for your sake. He wanted your merely instinctive love for your child (tigresses share that, you know!) to turn into something better. He wanted you to love Michael as He understands love. You cannot love a fellow-creature fully till you love God. Sometimes this conversion can be done while the instinctive love is still gratified. But there was, it seems, no chance of that in your case. The instinct was uncontrolled and fierce and monomaniac. (Ask your daughter, or your husband. Ask your own mother. You haven't once thought of her.) The only remedy was to take away its object. It was a case for surgery.’

‘When that first kind of love was thwarted, then there was just a chance that in the loneliness, in the silence, something else might begin to grow.’ (98-100)
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