Here’s to C. S. Lewis!
On 29th November 1898, Lewis was born in Belfast to Flora and Albert Lewis. He had an older brother, Warren, and one day, the young Clive Staples announced to his family that from now on he wanted to be called Jacks.
In time, the final ‘s’ was dropped and Warren became Warnie. The boys became men, Jack an Oxford don and Warnie an army officer. After the latter retired, he went to live with his brother and is now buried in the same grave as him.
Today, C. S. Lewis is most widely known as the author of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe but as well as The Chronicles of Narnia he wrote numerous books of fiction, literary criticism and Christian apologetics.
The Lewis that is on my mind at the moment, however, is not the Lewis specifically of literature or faith but simply Lewis the thinker.
He had a very busy life both at home and at work but despite many pressures maintained the ability to think. Not just about the day-to-day issues of life but the deeper ones as well.
Over a course of time, Lewis thought himself from atheism to theism to Christianity. I wonder if his was the most intellectual conversion since John Henry Newman’s from Anglicanism to Catholicism.
I am full of admiration for Lewis’ ability to think deeply, especially at home. He didn’t just live with Warnie but a woman named Mrs Moore (and her daughter) who was very demanding of his time. So much so that I would not have blamed Lewis if he never entertained any serious thoughts after entering his house but saved his energy for Mrs Moore.
But somehow he managed. I have a much easier thinking life than Lewis – both at home and at work – but I know I think – really think – a lot less. Why? And what can I go about it? Do I want to do anything about it? Yes, definitely; there are aspects of my life that I would like to change but how to do so demands thought, serious thought.
The anniversary of C. S. Lewis’ birth coincides this year with the first day of Advent. It is a time for thinking about the First and Second Coming. But thinking about either without reference to oneself is a waste of time. This year I shall try to be inspired by C. S. Lewis to take some steps towards rectifying that.