Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

It happened–first C. S. Lewis Book Club meeting. We stepped into Jack Lewis’ life as heartbroken son, withdrawn schoolboy, presumptuous intellectual, humbled believer.

Our club was a success! Encouragement, challenge, introspection, light! Just like I expected from Lewis, even while reading an autobiography. I came away with several observations that applied to both Lewis and the Club.

IMG_2586SOLIDARITY

“Nothing, I suspect, is more astonishing in any man’s life than the discovery that there do exist people very, very like himself.” (p. 131)

All of us crave friendships. They substantiate our value and place in the world. Our friends may contest viewpoints or disagree strongly, but they listen. And more likely still, a seemingly random relationship will spark a fire in another person that changes the trajectory of his/her life forever. Such was Lewis’ story.

FAITH DECISIONS

“The vagueness, the merely speculative character, of all this Occultism began to spread–yes, and to spread deliciously–to the stern truths of the creed. The whole thing became a matter of speculation: I was soon (in the famous words) ‘altering “I believe” to “one does feel”.’ ” (p. 60)

Certainly our backgrounds influence our perspective on God and eternity. And without the realization of sin and grace, the road we start out on may steer us toward a doomed eternity. I loved the way Lewis explained how he walked away from faith, and for many years remained there, faithless and joyless. While a Christian already, I can see myself stepping down that same slippery slope of defining my choices by negotiable perspectives instead of absolute truth.

SHAPING INFLUENCES

As Lewis said, “The odd thing was that before God closed in on me, I was in fact offered what now appears a moment of wholly free choice. . . . I say, ‘I chose,’ yet it did not really seem possible to do the opposite.” (p. 224) 11403147_10154154435068782_4596093286809473920_n

We book clubbers found that over our lifetimes, our positive and negative experiences in life had been linked together to accomplish specific purposes in our spiritual growth. Seemingly insignificant encounters and unrelated events had combined over months and years, culminating into moments of transformation. I personally was awed and humbled by the grace of God on each of our lives.

Bless you, Jack Lewis, both common man and uncommon scholar, for sharing your life, wisdom, and wit.

See you next month, fellow book clubbers.

3 thoughts on “Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

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