“Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers any more. Only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.” – C.S. Lewis
These are C.S. Lewis’ concluding words in the film ‘Shadowlands’, the story of his relationship and subsequent marriage to Joy Gresham. In the lofty circles of academia where he rationalised that one should endure suffering with patience, he found that the simple answers he’d advocated no longer applied when his wife Joy became afflicted with cancer and eventually died.
It seems to me in his words, he was expressing a moment he knew required an astute show of courage and having recognised it, he moved toward it anyway. I ask you, who would go? And yet, he does.
I think it’s an agonsing moment of grief expressed in a single act of great personal courage and choice. To walk on a path you have no wish to walk along but must because it’s where the healing is, out from the shadowlands.
I’ve had my own shadowlands lately. I can tell you from experience that the path is littered with tree roots intent on tripping you up (and they do) and getting up again is hard. The inclination is to not want to, it’s a struggle.
Don’t let anyone diminish your initial unwillingness to get up, because unless they’ve had to, they have no idea what that takes but I do encourage you to get up. To find it in yourself. For some, giving up is an option, it’s just not the one I choose. I hope you don’t either.
The continual falling and getting up again can make you tired but push through. One breath, one step at a time. Don’t be a hero, the truth is super-heroes are the stuff of graphic novels, we humankind we don’t leap a building in a single bound though wouldn’t that be nice. Me, I’m a feet-in-the-mud kinda girl, I’d settle for one foot in front of the other every day until I don’t have to think about it anymore. I hope you will too.
A few weeks ago I lost my best friend from my life and like Lewis, I hurt deeply sometimes. Unbearably so. It’s such an inconsolable loss right now that no-one can tell you how to live through it. It’s me who has to find the way through.
On the days it’s more difficult, like today, I dig deeper, it’s the only way. It’s also what Lewis would say with a good deal of compassion and kindness too. Dig deeper. So, it’s what I’ll say to you too, for those of you who need to hear these words. Breathe and dig deeper, you can do it!