06 February 2014
C.S. Lewis and "Joy"
I recently finished reading C.S. Lewis' diary from the years 1922 - 1927. During these years, of course, he was an atheist. While he rejects Christianity and has debates about it with friends at Oxford, every once-in-a-while something would hit him while he was out on a walk or resting under a tree. It was a sense or a glimmer of joy. He even called it joy. But in a flash it was gone. And he didn't know how to get it back, but he realized how it usually occurred while he was out in nature observing the gentle sloping hills or the opening of flowers. He thought nature brought him joy, but it was the great Maker of nature that he missed seeing for a long time.
Here in these small moments, I think he is getting the inkling of something more, but he just isn't ready to look that deep into what he had rejected for so many years. Not until a few years later when his friends (including Tolkien) helped him see that Christianity is not just a myth. It is actually the only myth that is real.
I read this book with my friend, Amber, who lives overseas, and we would talk about various passages as we went along. We usually mentioned passages Lewis wrote about nature, and how we loved his descriptions and feeling from that passage. He wrote the details of the scene so vividly. Or, the other passages we would talk about were all his descriptions of people. He had a way of describing quirks of people with a serious sarcasm that would make us laugh out loud.
I don't think the general public would enjoy reading this (it is 400 + pages of a diary after all), but any great admirer of Lewis will enjoy reading of his early days and catching some of the influences that show up later down the road in his stories.