the brother and i have been reading c. s. lewis’ the great divorce together for the last week — it’s a slow process, we read a chapter or two then discuss what we’ve read during our phone dates throughout the week — but it has been such a joy to talk through lewis’ text with someone reading and experiencing his words at the same time.
because let’s be real for a moment, lewis is not one for writing in black & white; in fact, much of his brilliance is found in what i’ll call his thought provoking “words of grey.” i might read something one way and jon might read it completely different….ah yes, there in lies the beauty of discussion.
but every once in a while c.s. drops a black & white bomb that totally rocks my world — a sentence or paragraph that causes one to write “whoa” out beside it — which is precisely what i did with the below excerpt.
the scene: an intelligent, inquisitive “ghost” is talking with the “solid” person sent to escort him to Heaven.
“i am perfectly ready to consider it [continuing on to Heaven]. of course i should require some assurances…i should want a guarantee that you are taking me to a place where i shall find a wider sphere of usefulness—and scope for the talents that God has given me–and an atmosphere of free inquiry…”
“no, said the other. i can promise you none of these things. no sphere of usefulness: you are not needed there at all. no scope for your talents: only forgiveness for having perverted them. no atmosphere of inquiry, for i will bring you to the land not of questions but of answers, and you shall see the face of God.”
and it hit me, like a punch in the gut. i am not needed, but wanted. i can give nothing, but have been given more than i deserve. i will have no doubts or worries, but instead will be full of joy and peace. i will stand in the very presence of my Father.