The author recounts his grief over the death of his wife, and explains how he reexamined his religious beliefsPublishers Description
Written with love, humility, and faith, this brief but poignant volume was first published in 1961 and concerns the death of C. S. Lewis's wife, the American-born poet Joy Davidman. In her introduction to this new edition, Madeleine L'Engle writes: "I am grateful to Lewis for having the courage to yell, to doubt, to kick at God in angry violence. This is a part of a healthy grief which is not often encouraged. It is helpful indeed that C. S. Lewis, who has been such a successful apologist for Christianity, should have the courage to admit doubt about what he has so superbly proclaimed. It gives us permission to admit our own doubts, our own angers and anguishes, and to know that they are part of the soul's growth."
Written in longhand in notebooks that Lewis found in his home, A Grief Observed probes the "mad midnight moments" of Lewis's mourning and loss, moments in which he questioned what he had previously believed about life and death, marriage, and even God. Indecision and self-pity assailed Lewis. "We are under the harrow and can't escape," he writes. "I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get. The old life, the jokes, the drinks, the arguments, the lovemaking, the tiny, heartbreaking commonplace." Writing A Grief Observed as "a defense against total collapse, a safety valve," he came to recognize that "bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love."
Lewis writes his statement of faith with precision, humor, and grace. Yet neither is Lewis reluctant to confess his continuing doubts and his awareness of his own human frailty. This is precisely the quality which suggests that A Grief Observed may become "among the great devotional books of our age."
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.71" Width: 5.25" Height: 0.53"
Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Jul 28, 2009
Publisher Harper Collins Publishers
Availability 26 units.
Availability accurate as of Feb 22, 2018 02:06.
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|Tender and Awful Mar 27, 2007|
|Following Lewis' journey of grief after the death of his wife Joy is a tender, awful, experience. No writer in my memory is more exact in capturing and explaining our humanity. Nearly the whole work is quotable, but two I chose that stood out to me:|
"To make an organism which is also a spirit; to make that terrible oxymoron, a 'spiritual animal.' To take a poor primate, a beast with nerve-endings all over it, a creature with a stomach that wants to be filled, a breeding animal that wants its mate, and say, 'Now get on with it. Become a god.'"
"When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of 'No answer.' It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, 'Peace, child; you don't understand.' Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask -- half our great theological and metaphysical problems -- are like that."
As with all Lewis' writings, you can't fly through this. Get comfortable, settle in, and savor the English language and one of the greatest minds ever to use it.
|Fantastic! Jan 10, 2007|
|A must-read for anyone mourning the death of a spouse or partner. What a privilege to gain such intimate insight into the mind and heart of this great author, and to have the consolation of his companionship on one's grief journey.|
|A Powerful Exploration of Grief Jan 4, 2007|
|This book explores the tough questions on grief with candor and humanity. It confronts the tough issues surrounding loss and provides an approach to going forward. Worth reading more than once.|
|This Book Should be at the Ready for Everyone Dec 27, 2006|
|My first introduction to CS Lewis was his famous Chronicals way back when I was in forth grade. I never bothered to read him again until my husband saw me struggling with comparing myself to other women in our church or to my mother-- God help me, she is a brilliant lady-- and seeing my insecurities rise to levels unknown before (I was pregnant.) He brought me the Screwtape Letters and this man whose life had seemed so far from mine reached to my heart and he spoke with elequence yet reached to my level. We shared them with our children and it's a running joke in our family to say, "Screwtape's been messing with your mind again. . ."|
A Grief Observed was one of my husband's gifts to me recently after my dad died. I was having nightmares of his death then becoming saddened in the daylight hours when I realised that I couldn't remember what he looked like. I have been trained in Hospice and counseled people through grief, yet was in shock when it happened to me. When my husband gave me this book, I opened it to a page where CS was talking about how he couldn't remember what his wife looked like, that pictures were meaningless-- once again, he was where I was, on my level with me. In spite of me being Russian Orthodox and CS being western in his thought, his writingis influenced by his search for knowing God, not by any particular church and I appreciate that and can relate to him very well.
I have perused this book many times. When someone dies in our society, there is no prescribed time for mourning for immediate family members. I found that my mother was the one to be comforted more than anything--- as his widow, she deserves that-- but in spite of being an adult child, I still hurt and cry at different times and the hurt surprises me for when it hits. In spite of CS writing about his wife, this is a great companion for "lesser mourners" as well as the main person affected. This book is a great comfort to anyone who experiences a loss of someone they love.
|A remarkable book of faith Dec 15, 2006|
|For a Cambridge professor, C.S. Lewis writes in simple, clear English free of flourish or pretension, and "A Grief Observed" is all the more powerful because of its style. It's a straight-forward account of his struggle with faith in the face of tragedy, and one of the best "self-help" guides available for those dealing with the questions that arise when dealing with the ultimate grief.|
"A Grief Observed" is about Lewis' crisis of faith following the death of his wife, poet Joy Davidman, whom he wed in the final decade of his life, well aware she was dying of cancer. Their romance and the tragedy that befell them was later dramatized in the play "Shadowlands," and the subsequent film starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
It's easy to see why Lewis, a famous Christian apologist who also wrote "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Screwtape Letters," first published "A Grief Observed" under the pseudonym of N.W. Clark. The brutally honest reactions to tragedy and its effect on his definition of God would have shocked his faithful readers and might have tarnished his reputation. We are taught to love God and accept that He loves us. To question that thesis, or to express anger at God or to doubt his character, might be construed as blasphemy.
Lewis writes that grief feels much like fear at times. "Meanwhile, where is God?" he asks. God is present, or seems to be, when all is well. "But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away."
Lewis does not doubt God's existence, but wonders if the Supreme Being is not what He has claimed to be.
"The conclusion I dread is not 'So there's no God after all,' but 'So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer.'"
These are not the kind of thoughts that many Christians would ever dare express which is why they are often of little help to those seeking reassurance or balm for their wounds. Too many self-described "Christians" are cliquish and cantankerous, professing a belief in the interest of feeling superior to those on the outside of their faith: "I'm saved, you're not. Na, na, na, na, na."
There is no such boasting from Lewis. Tragedy taught him that faith in God requires hard work, and if C.S. Lewis can struggle with belief, certainly we can, too. A remarkable, comforting book.
Brian W. Fairbanks
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