Sunday, October 6, 2013

Screwtape talks about the "value" in life

During my devotion/meditation time this morning, I pondered a piece written by Christian writer C.S. Lewis,in his "The Screwtape Letters."

In this segment, Screwtape advises Wormwood on using time to wear down a soul:

The Enemy has guarded him from you through the first great wave of temptations. But, if only he can be kept alive, you have time itself for your ally. The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather. You see, it is so hard for these creatures to persevere. The routine of adversity, the gradual decay of youthful loves and youthful hopes, the quiet despair (hardly felt as pain) of ever overcoming the chronic temptations with which we have again and again defeated them, the drabness which we create in their lives and the inarticulate resentment with which we teach them to respond to it—all this provides admirable opportunities of wearing out a soul by attrition. If, on the other hand, the middle years prove prosperous, our position is even stronger. Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it’, while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of being really at home in earth, which is just what we want. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle- aged and the old.

I was riding the 18 mile mountain bike loop at Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama later in the day and made a connection between Lewis' proposition that temptations are tied to our association with possessions and the things in this world. Then, I brought that all the way home with Jay Erwin. I can't yet fully understand why things happened as they did, but I do know that at the time of his injury, Jay was at a snapshot point in time.

The best way to hold a gift, is with an open hand. Never clutch tightly, as the gift may slip from our grasp. So it goes with the gifts of life. Jay has to face each day of his new future through the grace and peace and strength he can muster.

The less we have to hold on to, the easier it may be to move forward. Both Screwtape and Jay have taught me to embrace those things that truly matter and to jettison the rest.

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