On C. S. Lewis, His Personal Devotion to Relationships, and My Depravity

Courtesy of The Inklings, we have this this excerpt of Erik Routley’s remembrance of C. S. Lewis taken from C. S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and other Reminiscences:

I know myself what others know far better — how unfailingly courteous Lewis was in answering letters. I think I corresponded with him on three or four occasions… But there was a reply every time — it might be quite brief, but it was always written for you and for nobody else. I think this was his greatest secret. He hated casual contacts; human contact must, for him, be serious and concentrated and attentive, or it was better avoided. It might be for a moment only, but that was its invariable quality. That is not only why so many people have precious memories of him; it is also why he couldn’t write three words without the reader’s feeling that they were written for him and him alone. It’s why his massive books of scholarship read as delightfully as his children’s stories, and why he’s one of the few preachers who can be read without losing their message.

Having read this, I find myself ashamed at the thought of my own inattention to others, at the very lack of effort I put into achieving quality in a shared experience. I find that I am vain and self-absorbed, wholly committed to the selling of myself on the stock market of the moment, more concerned with how I am perceived than with how I truly am. Even now, as I read back through this, I find myself thinking, what will people think of me when they read these things? Will they think me genuine? Perhaps if I tell them that I’m thinking about it they will… My only consolation is that I am not alone in my depravity, and that is almost no consolation at all.

How do you rate compared to Lewis?

The rebuke of a friend is sweet

Yesterday, a friend of mine took me to task for something, and while it wasn’t pleasant, it was comforting to know that he cares about me. He wasn’t mean or rude or unfair to me in any way, he was honest, he was direct, he was gracious. It was quite humbling.

We all need a friend or two like that. The sort of person who will look at us and say the thing that needs to be said and not necessarily the thing that would be most pleasant. The sort of person who knows how to cut you, but kindly, the sort that Proverbs 27:6 speaks of when it says, “faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”.

I think there’s a great deal more to be said about friendship, but I wanted to get this down while it was fresh in my mind. And to Bruce, who I’m not entirely sure will read this, I wanted to say thank you. You are and have always been a friend, and I appreciate that, more than you may know.