>I picked up The Great Divorce (C.S. Lewis) at the recommendation of a male classmate who, ironically, was the locus of my relational angst this week. Initially I had demurred, saying, “I don’t think I need to read that at this point in my life,” despite having absolutely no idea what the book was actually about. I thought it might have something to do with relational breaks, and the story itself did not, but I ended up reaching some resolution about that issue anyway. Funny how God works, isn’t it?
My favorite part is when the narrator witnesses the conversation between a Lady, “one of the great ones” who did good to children and animals alike, and a Ghost that was her husband on earth. She asks his forgiveness for all the wrong she did him on earth and tries to persuade him to receive joy, but he ultimately refuses, choosing instead to play the Tragedian and be offended when she says she will not be sad if he goes. He returns to Hell and, true to her word, she goes on her joyful way. The narrator is perplexed, but his Teacher explains it thus:
The action of Pity will live for ever: but the passion of Pity will not…the ache that draws men to concede what should not be conceded and to flatter when they should speak truth, the pity that has cheated many a woman out of her virginity…that will die. It was used as a weapon by bad men against good ones: their weapon will be broken.
And as I reflected, I asked myself: Do I take up Christ’s joy so completely that _____ cannot steal it from me through his own rejection of joy? Then will I be ready to speak to him. I remember at times feeling sad that I wasn’t sadder for what I lost, but I realize now that is the final act of giving him over to Christ: giving over my grief as well. Do I still care about him? Yes. Do I still pray for him? Until I die, most likely. But is his pain my problem, and do I try to save him myself? No. My prayer is always this, If there’s anything I can do…thy will be done.