I’ve always loved C.S. Lewis. Like so many children, I was introduced to his writing through the The Chronicles of Narnia. I stepped into the wardrobe, drank tea Mr. Tumnus and fell in love with Aslan. I made my way through the seven books in the series in record time and then read them again.
Years ago, a movie came out called Shadowlands. The movie covers a specific time in the life of C.S. Lewis (played by Anthony Hopkins) when he meets Joy Gresham, an American poet (played by Debra Winger). It’s a beautiful movie. It is one of those movies that leaves you aching. I’m guessing that description might discourage those of you who read this post to run over to your computer and order it from Netflix, but I would highly recommend watching this movie if you missed it years ago. It’s worth the ache.
While Google-surfing the other night, I came across a transcript of an interview from 2000 where Douglas Gresham, one of the two sons of Joy Gresham, shares his memories of his stepfather, C.S.Lewis. You can read the full transcript here. One question the interviewer asks is whether there was a romantic love between his mom and C.S. Lewis. His response brought tears to my eyes.
“Oh yes, enormously. But again this is something that grew larger and greater after they were married. They were married in the hospital, she came home to die, but she went into remission. And they had the happiest four years of their lives. And I don’t think I have ever seen two people more in love. I mean there are some times when you see a young couple head over heels in love with each other in every sense of the word love. And they almost carry an aura of it with them. Well Jack and my mother in-in middle age developed this immensely powerful love for each other. And it was visible, you could actually see it. I remember one occasion I was being packed off to school in South Wales, mid-Wales, and they came to see me off at the railway station. And as the train pulled out; it was a weird experience, rather like one of those ancient Greek mythological experiences; I looked back and saw Jack and my mother standing in a glow of their own making. And it was a glow not only of great love and affection, a visible aura, but also had a tinge of doom about it. And I wept all the way from Oxford to South Wales, I couldn’t stop.”
It’s difficult for me to pinpoint one specific reason why I was so moved by his answer. I think it’s a combination of several things. First, I saw beauty. There is just something so beautiful about a love this deep existing between two people. I was also moved by this young boy who, at that moment, realizes that the life he knows is on the brink of changing forever. Then, it also reminded me of when I was a young girl and the moment in my own life when I came to that same realization about my mom. Life was about to change forever.
I went to bed shortly after reading this and all these thoughts were weighing on my mind and my heart was aching. I haven’t experienced that kind of ache in a long time. It’s the ache of realizing, once again, that you are separated from someone you love deeply. It’s an ache that I know will someday go away completely…just not this side of eternity. I fell asleep thinking about God’s truths.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18NIV)
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” (Romans 8:26 MSG)
Separation from loved ones is one of the most difficult aspects of living that we all must go through. Sometimes, I am confronted with that underlying ache. I am face to face with it again. I am here. And the person I love deeply is there. As a believer, I know that this separation is brief compared to eternity together. I receive SO MUCH comfort from knowing this truth. My heart overflows with gratitude and hope when I think about the reunion that will take place one day. My heart finds tremendous rest in knowing that when that ache comes up again, and it will, I have a Heavenly Father who holds onto me so tightly.