I want to share one of Lewis’s most insightful comments about the human desire for glory or heaven or joy or nostalgia. Lewis says that we are made for heaven or as some wise man once said, we have eternity in our hearts.
Within the soul of every human being is a deep longing for something and a deep desire to be satisfied. Ultimately, that satisfaction and longing is found in being in right relationship with your Maker. Lewis taps into the human experience of desire and longing in this quote.
“In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find 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. Our comments expedient is to call it beauty and beave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this was a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remember would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust in them; it was not in them but came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things – the beauty, the memory of our own past – are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, break the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; the are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, new from a country we have never visited. Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need the strongest spell that be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years. Almost our whole education has been directed to silencing this shy, persistent, inner voice; almost all our modern philosophies have been devised to convince us that the good of man is to be found on this earth.” – C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
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