770) On Interruptions and Real Life

From a letter by C. S. Lewis to his friend Arthur Greeves, December 20, 1943; From The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume II.

     Things are pretty bad here.  Minto’s varicose ulcer gets worse and worse, domestic help harder and harder to come by.  Sometimes I am very unhappy, but less so than I have often been in what were (by external standards) better times.

     The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life.  The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day.  What one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.  This at least is what I see at moments of insight.  But it’s hard to remember it all the time.  I know your problems must be much the same as mine…

     Isn’t it hard to go on being patient, to go on supplying sympathy?  One’s stock of love turns out, when the testing time comes, to be so very inadequate.  I suppose it is well that one should be forced to discover the fact!

     I find too (do you?) that hard days drive one back on Nature.  I don’t mean walks… but little sights and sounds seen at windows in odd moments.

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Galatians 5:22-23  —  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Colossians 3:12-13  —  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

I Corinthians 13:4-7  —  Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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Grant us, O Lord, grace to follow you wherever you lead.  

In little daily duties to which you call us, bow down our wills to simple obedience, patience under pain or provocation, strict truthfulness of word or manner, humility, and kindness.

In great acts of duty, if you call us to them, uplift us to sacrifice and heroic courage, that in all things, both small and great, we may be imitators of your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

–Christina Rossetti  (1830-1894), British poet

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