Friday, August 13, 2010

A Lesson From C.S. Lewis

It is sometimes difficult to understand why we have to go through the trials we are given.  But I think I can confidently say that EVERY trial we ever have to pass through can be used to help someone else.  If you reflect on the difficult circumstances of others, I suspect you have a special place in your heart for, and even a particular desire to reach out to, those who have experienced challenges similar to your own.  Empathy has power that sympathy simply cannot duplicate. 
Further, sometimes our trials lead us down a path that we might not have otherwise gone down.    
I am currently reading C.S. Lewis’ autobiography (Surprised by Joy).  It always fascinates me to learn about the lives of influential people.  I have recently been reflecting on this excerpt:
What drove me to write was the extreme manual clumsiness from which I have always suffered.  I attribute it to a physical  defect which my brother and I both inherit from our father; we have only one joint in the thumb.  the upper joint (that furthest from the nail) is visible, but it is a mere sham; we cannot bend it.  But whatever the cause, nature laid on me form birth an utter incapacity to make anything…. It was this that forced me to write.  I longed to make things, ships, houses, engines.  Many sheets of cardboard and pairs of scissors I spoiled, only to turn from my hopeless failures in tears.  As a last resource, I was driven to write stories instead; little dreaming to what a would of happiness I was being admitted. You can do more with a castle in a story than with the best cardboard castle that ever stood on a nursery table.
I think it is interesting that one of C.S. Lewis’ greatest blessings (his ability to influence people through the written word) sprang from his trial of being born with partially crippled hands.  And just think, his literature went on to change the world! 
Sometimes it is so hard not to ask why.  That is the most pressing question on our minds while we go through adversity, yet is almost always the most mysterious.  But I have been learning and re-learning lately that I should try to focus on asking myself what I can do to reach out to others instead of mulling over why something is happening to me.  It is SUCH a hard lesson to learn, but I appreciate the examples (like C.S. Lewis) who brighten the path. 

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