Thursday, July 14, 2016
until we meet again
And the pain that he speaks is utterly real, and the human condition. We DO want exactly what we cannot have, just as he says. We want things the way they WERE. And they will never again be the way they were.
But that's a good thing, and Lewis I'm sure realized this when he wasn't in (perfectly understandable) grief over his departed and beloved wife. We don't really want what we had before. What we want is the happiness that we had then.
And we know, deep down all of us know, that we will find that happiness to the millionth degree in heaven. We will be together again, finding loved ones that we lost in this life. And, much more than that, we will see Him as He is. We will find, not just things we love, but Love itself... Love Himself.
Lewis seems to cast some doubt on our reunion with our loved ones. He uses the phrase "in entirely earthly terms" so we're not entirely sure what he means exactly. We know that we will be bodily resurrected, and we will be recognizable to one another. We WILL be reunited. Maybe Lewis is pointing to the idea that he fleshes out in The Great Divorce where his characters were trying to force the people in heaven back into unhealthy relationships which they had had on earth. And we know that he DID see the great value of those wonderful reunions, because arguably the best part of the Narnia series is in the Last Battle, where all of the characters from the entire series come together again. In any case, we CAN look forward to happy reunions with loved ones. Lewis seems to make a simple biblical error in thinking that since the Bible doesn't say we will, then we must not. But argument from the silence of the Bible is always a weak argument. And the resurrected Christ gives us many ideas about what heaven will be like... among them physical bodies and reunions with loved ones.
Lewis was speaking out of his pain, and sharing the love that he had had with his wife, whom he missed. We can all identify with that. It's part of the human experience. As he said in yesterday's reading, that pain is a normal part of our love lives. When we love someone, we know that we will eventually lose them. The choice really is between loving and losing, or never loving at all. There is no third option. No one loves another human and keeps the object of their love. At least, not in this life.
But Lewis points us to the meaning of it all. We do long for the love and happiness that we once had. And we know that we will find a love and a joy that is so far greater than the love and joy we've had in this life, it will make all of our sufferings seem like nothing. I don't know about you, but I already experience this to a limited extent. When I think back over my life so far, I see the ways that He has redeemed my life. The ways that, already, He has turned the bad times into good things for me, and I remember the good times most happily.
God, thank You for redeeming our entire lives... and for the happy reunions we do look forward to.