As most of you reading this rant know, C.S. Lewis is my favorite author. I’ve read everything he wrote and understand very little. I feel the same when I read meaty, thought provoking books of any type – understanding does not come easily.
C.S. Lewis took on tough topics, none more difficult than his attempts to understand pain & love. If you want to understand some of his thinking on pain try on A Grief Observed (1961) where Lewis dissects the emotional nature of pain. For a better understanding of why pain exists or the more intellectual piece to the puzzle, take in his book titled The Problem with Pain. Both of these books will require slow digestion and lots of rumination. Both these reads will illustrate how pain and love are so closely intertwined. Want to understand love more? Read and write in Mere Christianity and dive headlong into The Four Loves. This side of Heaven, we’ll never really know anything, just catch glimpses and keep going.
You see, friend, understanding pain & love, not unlike understanding any of the big questions of life, is more mystery than puzzle. Our brain prefers puzzles, doesn’t it? Think about it. When we face complex problems in work/life, we tend to use our right hemisphere and figure out the missing pieces to the puzzle. We love to solve problems where there’s clearly an answer, especially a singular one.
My best learning from Lewis has been in realizing that most of my problems are not puzzles. Nope they are not. Most of the problems preoccupying my mind and the minds of my family, friends, and clients are mysteries – they just don’t make sense. Missi’s illness is a classic example. No matter how much we learn, we can’t seem to find the missing piece. And, even if we did, will we ever understand why pediatric cancer came into being? Will we ever understand the depth of love we have for our puppies, parents, and especially for our children? Will we every understand any of the big questions of life? One of my most calming, bolted on beliefs is “the more I learn the less I know.” I’ve found peace through faith even though all faith is more mystery than it is like finding that missing puzzle piece. Funny, huh.
Life is more mystery than puzzle. Thank God for faith. Good…