When the name C. S. Lewis is mentioned, so many images come to mind. Fauns dancing in a gland, a rosy-cheeked man smoking a pipe by the fire, nearly comical demons writing letters, the booming voice that inspired Treebeard – these are just to mentions a few.
Being in the city where this great thinker and writer lived, studied, and died is hard to fathom. Last Saturday, a group of us went to the Kilns and visited his home and grave. This visit was especially special considering the fact that I am taking a class on his works right now. Just tonight, I finished a paper on his view of Heaven and Hell in The Great Divorce. Despite difficulty narrowing down my topic, the finished essay seems decent. I always struggle with perfectionism regarding my work. When my tutor praised my paper today, she was shocked that I did not believe that it was great work.
Anyway, Lewis’ writing is not the only thing I have been learning about him. Evidently Americans view C. S. Lewis as a near saint. Over here, people think he was not a very nice person but incredibly clever and creative. Realizing that this great author is not as perfect as I first believed is a bit jarring. However, it also helps me to respect him even more. After all, no one is perfect. Seeing this great man’s flaws gives me hope for my own life and those of others that I know. Even our heroes struggled and had enemies.
No matter what you think of C. S. Lewis personally, it is hard to ignore his perceptive and thought-provoking way of looking at the world. Even those who do not agree morally or theologically with him can appreciate his imagination and brain. Thus, I decided to put together a list of ten quotes that inspire me to be a better person, make me see the world in a new way, and cause me to smile on a hard day. If you have other words of his that you like, please share them in a comment!
- “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” – The Four Loves
- “Suspicion often creates what it suspects.” – The Screwtape Letters
- “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
- “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – The Four Loves
- “Shut your mouth; open your eyes and ears.” – Surprised by Joy
- “I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they’ll ‘say something about it’ or not. I hate if they do, and if they don’t.” – A Grief Observed
- “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”
- “And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” – The Last Battle in The Chronicles of Narnia series
- “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” – Mere Christianity
- “Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” – The Silver Chair in The Chronicles of Narnia series