Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Grief Observed

KB bought this for me for Christmas, which I thought was a bit cheesy, but I found it very good and poignant and relevant to the array of thoughts I've been wrestling with since over a year ago. Lewis writes, as always, as a theologian and a scholar, as well as a man who has lost his wife to a tragic illness. He doesn't spare the reader his doubts and fears about loss and death and faith and hope.

He states so many of the thoughts I've had this year such as:
No matter what anyone says it's not the right thing. "You can't really share someone elses weakness or misery or pains."
Is this whole God thing/life of faith the real deal or made up rot. "Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms."
I am hurting and struggling and pitiful and I know it. Shoot, other people know it too. "Feelings and feelings and feelings." and, "Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process."
Heaven and heavenly reunions and how to make sense of the divide? "When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "No Answer. It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not impassioned, gaze." As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the questions. "Like, Peace, child.; you don't understand."
God is good, regardless of what I know or don't know, feel or don't feel. Truth stands despite my self. "My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence?"

If, as Schaeffer asserts, a thesis must have an antithesis, working to make sense of death causes us to look hard at the thesis' we've built our lives upon because it is the ultimate antithesis of life. If we believe in a benevolent God, one who is on our side, yet allows the pain of loss and grief, is he really good? Does he really care? Is heaven truly all that we hope for or merely an opiate we use to soothe our wounded hearts in the face of devastating loss. I always joke that Walmart and McDonald's are life's great equalizers, but no jest aside, death is. Death is really where we are all alone, where we met God or not, where our theology is True or Deceptive. And, I've found this year that the deaths of people I love has caused me to consider the truth of my faith, the realness of my theology.

Brilliant insights, lovingly written by master wordsmith C.S. Lewis. Last year, "Living a Life of Kaddish" really helped me get over a hard time as I grieved through significant losses. A Grief Observed" spoke to me profoundly this past month as I struggled through a deep valley of sadness. I recommend it highly for anyone working to make sense of a loss.

(Thanks, KB. You are a sweet blessing!)


Betty Marie said...

Thank you for being so open about where you are at. I am praying for that joy that exudes from your face in your photo to fill you to overflowing once more. Until then, I pray for peace. Deep peace.

Beth said...

This is on my to-read list as well. So true that death is no respecter of persons. Thanks for your honesty.