June 23, 2008


All reality is iconoclastic. The earthly beloved, even in this life, incessantly triumphs over your mere idea of her. And you want her to; you want her with all her resistances, all her faults, all her unexpectedness. That is, in her foursquare and independent reality.
- C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

To me, this is the quintessential element of love. We live in a world ruled by fragmentation and chaos, and we are created to seek out coherence and unity. But being nothing but fragmented beings, we can only present ourselves as we are, with all of our resistances, faults and unexpectedness.

The only time we will experience coherence and unity – when we will feel fulfilled – is when we experience for the first time, the unconditional love of another, our other. For most, this is the closest we will come to understanding our Bride Groom’s unconditional love for us. Isn’t this the whole purpose of this life? This valley of tears? Are we not called to know, love and serve Him in this world?

I love this short book by Lewis because, suddenly, he almost becomes human. He is not some super intellectual who has never had a normal human experience. He writes about his grief and suffering. And, probably most importantly, he questions God’s goodness.

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.
- C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

And that, my friends, is my prayer, my life. Over the past year, my whole foundation for faith has been shaken, if not completely shattered. God’s goodness has become a matter of life and death to me. I believe in my head that He is good, that He never will make me bear a larger load than I can handle, but it seems Experience always teaches otherwise.

I believe that my only hope now is to discover this unconditional love… to touch it, to taste it, to breathe it, to see it, to hear it. This unconditional love, His ever-abiding love for me, is the only thing that will bring my soul back to life. I need to know that even with my resistances, faults and unexpectedness, I will be accepted. But more than accepted. I need to know I will be loved.

But there is something else, something even more profound that speaks to me from these passages from Lewis. It is not only that we can be loved in this way, but that we, ourselves, can love, not perfectly, but in a fashion similar to Christ’s love for His Church. We have been made for this, called to this.

No comments: