456) Change? No, Thank You.

From a letter by C. S. Lewis to Mary Van Deusen (November 21, 1962), on the difficulties of moving and on the lessons we are taught by life’s many changes.  From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III.

     I think I share, to excess, your feeling about a move.  By nature I demand from the arrangements of this world just that permanence which God has expressly refused to give them.  It is not merely the nuisance and expense of any big change in one’s way of life that I dread.  It is also the psychological uprooting and the feeling—to me, as to you, intensely unwelcome—of having ended a chapter.  One more portion of oneself slipping away into the past!  I would like everything to be immemorial—to have the same old horizons, the same garden, the same smells and sounds, always there, changeless.  The old wine is to me always better.  That is, I desire the ‘abiding city’ (Hebrews 13:14) where I well know it is not and ought not to be found.  I suppose all these changes should prepare us for the far greater change which has drawn nearer ever since I began this letter.  We must ‘sit light’ not only to life itself but to all its phases.

That ‘far greater change’ came for C. S. Lewis one year and one day after he wrote this letter; he died on November 22, 1963.

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All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.

 –Anatole France (1844-1924)

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Hebrews 13:14  —  For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  —  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, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52  —  Listen, I tell you a mystery:  We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Hebrews 13:8  —  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

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Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Henry F. Lyte  (1793-1847)