Friday, September 18, 2009
Longing in Till We Have Faces
If it's not my favorite book, then I'm not sure what is, - aside from the Bible, of course. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis seems to me to be arguably the most profound, most intricately written book in print.
It is hard to choose from the many compelling themes which one stimulates my thoughts most earnestly. Perhaps, as when I read the Bible, where I am emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, has to do with that which I ponder and - to the poor soul who has to listen to me - about which I talk - for days on end.
Right now I am thinking about the whole idea of longing as presented in the book.
"It was when I was happiest that I longed most (ponder that for just a moment!!)...The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing...to find the place where all the beauty came from.... It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills, the three of us, with the wind and the sunshine...where you couldn't see Glome or the palace. Do you remember? The colour and the smell, and looking across at the Grey Mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche come! But I couldn't (not yet) come and I didn't know where I was to come to. It almost hurt me..... I am going, you see, to the Mountain. You remember how we used to look and long? And all the stories of my gold and amber house, up there against the sky, where we thought we should never really go? The greatest King of all was going to build it for me..... - my country, my home the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home! For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back. All my life the god of the Mountain has been wooing me...." (p. 74, 75)
I see it. Beauty of the mountain led to her desire to go there and find her beloved. Desire led to Psyche's longing to give herself to what she knew of the unknown to gain that of which she was sure. Her tasks, her anguish, her perseverance from this point on in the story reveal her passion to gain and regain what she knew to be true. What she knew to be truth!!
If I don't have passion - the willingness to endure, suffer, submit to God and to circumstances over which I have no control - perhaps I don't have a clear enough vision of the beauty that is already prepared for me, beauty that should draw me to respond, beauty that awaits me, beauty that is my Savior.