Last time I left off, C.S. Lewis was saying that mankind, in general, was far too easily pleased, with misplaced and essentially weak desires. You can read the first part here. I’ve omitted a small excerpt talking about proper rewards. If you want to read the entire chapter, you can do so here.
Now, if we are made for heaven, the desire for our proper place will be already in us, but not yet attached to the true object, and will even appear as the rival of that object…
…If a transtemporal, transfinite good is our real destiny, then any other good on which our desire fixes must be in some degree fallacious, must bear at best only a symbolical relation to what will truly satisfy.
In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you – the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both.
We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name.
This week has been a struggle. I haven’t felt like writing, or praying, or doing anything really, and as a result I just keep getting more exhausted, making more excuses, and being more sad. I’m remembering all of the nights like these when my mom would make me hot cocoa and we’d stay up late and talk. I’m thinking about how much she loved this song and this scent and this movie. I’m frustrated when my work suffers because I can’t concentrate.
C.S. Lewis is always my fall-back, and with excerpts like this, it’s no wonder why. It is my desire for good which makes me want my mom back. But I always fail to remember that the good is in the future, not the past. This desire for good has manifested in my mind as my desire for my mother because I believe that she was one of the closest things in my experience to Heaven. And my tiny human brain just assumes that those memories were the real thing when they were only a sample, a symbol – fallacious to a degree.
My real desire for happiness, for joy, for peace, for my mother, is in the glory of eternal life. And as long as I am fixated on the past, on my own grief or self-pity, I will never get there. I must remember that this is but a journey, a sea voyage, and if I fall in love with the boat I’ll never reach land.
This, too, shall pass.
Note: Everyone has experienced loss, frustration, disappointment, and grief, and I am no different. My life is no longer about me losing, it isn’t about “poor Mariah,” this is about me recovering from years of forgetting how to love. Only then can I heal.