Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it.
It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides;
and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become. -C.S. Lewis
When I was in college, I spent one wonder-filled summer chasing after C.S. Lewis’ inspirations on a study abroad program in London and the outlying areas of England. Little did I know that the Lord was planting many seeds of inspiration for writing my own novels to encourage and entertain today’s youth.
That summer, my grandfather had suddenly passed away, two weeks before I was to travel abroad. It was a very sad time, with much change on the doorstep of my life. I vacillated about whether to remain home or leave for an adventure. Studying abroad was the last gift my Grandfather Scott gave me, and writing the check one of the last things he did. I’ve never taken that lightly.
For three months, I read Lewis’ children’s fiction, adult fiction, and a selection of his nonfiction about grief, miracles, the basics of Christianity. You can’t confront his ideas and not be changed in some fashion. There I was, fresh from the despair of loss, thrust into Lewis’ world, seeing potential in simple things, confronting the big questions and deciding what I really thought about life, death, afterlife, and having more meaning in my life.
Seeing the lion carved in a wall that inspired Aslan; walking around the pond where he dreamed up his lakeside creatures; sitting in his pew at church; visiting where he taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities; hiking on mountains in Wales where he read Lines Written A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey by Wordsworth; hearing how he raised two children after his late-in-life wife died of cancer—well all of these things changed me at my core.
He’s one of my great heroes and I wanted to share him with you today as you face your struggles and joys. His writing and calling have reminded me at key junctures to strive for a meaningful life, not anchored in past challenges. I hope he will inspire you too.
Do you have a special C.S. Lewis memory to share? I’d love to hear from you.
Photos courtesy or C.S. Lewis Institute.