I am so torn.
Generally – I love a dose of Clive, but I found this read to be a tad more difficult than my usual C.S. Lewis experiences. To be fair, I think this is the longest continuous work that I’ve read from Lewis and I did stop right before the last chapter. Therein lies mistake numero uno: I took a break, I stopped reading.
Don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from the first 115 pages of the book and particularly enjoyed Lewis’ humor. In particular, I loved the chapter ‘Friendship’ because it served as such encouragement for my existing friendships. It also just emphasized how sweet true fellowship is. #frodoandsam #lewisandtolkien #friendshipgoals – Following ‘Friendship’ was the chapter ‘Eros’ which I didn’t think I would appreciate as much, but man, did Lewis really redeem that word for me. There are so many stigmas to what an eros love means and the humour through which Lewis speaks of Eros was so refreshing.
But back to my Four Loves dilemma. As I pushed through 100 plus pages, I just wanted him to talk Jesus. For the most part I felt that I was reading a philosophical commentary on love from a Christian perspective, but I wanted more Jesus, more God, more Gospel. A month or so later, I finally have the gumption to arrive at the last chapter: ‘Charity’. It’s with this last chapter that all connections are made, and all signs point to Christ, making sense of it all. By no means does Lewis write about Love to provide a clear answer or explanation of Love. He defers to his “betters”. A cop out? I think not – I don’t blame him and his ambiguous end speaks to his humility.
Perhaps. Perhaps, for many of us, all experience merely defines, so to speak, the shape of that gap where our love of God ought to be. It is not enough. It is something. If we cannot ‘practise the presence of God,’ it is something to practise the absence of God, to become increasingly aware of our unawareness till we feel like men who should stand beside a great cataract and hear no noise… To know that one is dreaming is to be no longer perfectly asleep. (141)
This end especially resonated with me as I find myself slipping into the danger of feeling neither presence or absence through an untamable complacency. And I find myself going back to the single most important thing to which Lewis calls us: “Let us not reckon without our Host.” (90)
Verdict: Read eventually.