Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Honestly just me...

I've been doing some deep thinking lately... seriously, I am in this weird funk. Not bad, but just thinking. I find that my joy runs deep, deeper than I've ever known it to but also, my sorrow seems to find a new depth. And that is where I do my deep thinking... in both my deep joy and my deep sorrow.

I read C.S. Lewis's book "A Grief Observed" and I was completely knocked on my keister. Seriously it's probably thee most amazing book I have read in my life. (of course, not more amazing than the thee Good Book.)

So what's the hoopla about this book, Joanna? Why should I read it?

It's the late-night journaling a man wrote in the sleepless nights following his wife's death. It's pure and honest, it's completely beautiful.

Lewis took me on a journey through his emotions. From the beginning feelings,

"But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence."

to the honesty he expresses with the Lord,

"What chokes every prayer and every hope is the memory of all the prayers H. and I offered and all the false hopes we had...Time after time, when He seemed most gracious He was really preparing the next torture. I wrote that last night. It was a yell rather than a thought."

to the morning he awakens with a lighter heart,

"And suddenly at the very moment when, so far, I mourned H. least, I remembered her best... It was as if the lifting of the sorrow removed a barrier."

and finally through the darkness he reaches the point where he can say,

"How wicked it would be, if we could, to call the dead back! She said not to me but to the chaplain, 'I am at peace with God.' She smiled, but not at me. Poi si torno all' eterna fontana."

This spoke to me directly because I am just exiting a time where all I could do was be honest with the Lord and cry out, "You are my Rock and You are my Constant! But I don't even understand You. I'm so hurt! And so broken! I hate how I feel right now! I'm so mad. I'm just so heartbroken and I am mad. Things I once loved I don't want to ever see again! I am so scared to feel this way but You have lead me here for such a time as this. And God, You have made me courageous! Please give me Your strength and Your courage to walk forward."

It's hard to explain to you the situation that I was in, please do not be alarmed by such honest feelings~ for it is in these that I find the true depth of my joy. I feel like David as He cried out in desperation. And although I sound desperate, I was and never shall be without hope. The Lord completely ministered to my heart through Lewis's journaling. I am also being ministered to BIG TIME in the Word.

I have been thinking of Esther, Joseph, and Joshua as at some time in their lives, God revealed to them that perhaps what they were going through was something greater. For example, Esther is made Queen, "who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Es.4:14). Joshua is given the reassurance, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know... I will be with you." (Jsh.3:7). And Joseph tells his brothers, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Gen.50:20). These passages give me a hope that perhaps, oh perhaps, the things I experience and the paths I walk are for things greater than I can see or even imagine. I believe that God has purpose in pleasure and pain.

God has continually put things in my path causing my head to turn from inward to heavenward. God is so good to not let me keep to myself. He loves me so much He has been working on my heart, although sometimes painful, the end result is worth it.

I am able to see that although there is pain in this world and things we can't make sense of, God is still in control and He brings us out of the shadows into the morning light. Into a new day, a fresh start...

I had to ask my father about the last line, "Poi si torno all' eterna fontana." And he emailed me this reply:

Those last words of that little work are a quotation from Dante in the Italian: "then she turned back to the Eternal Fountain." They are spoken of Beatrice, when, in one of the final cantos of the Paradiso, she finally and forever turns away from the poet, whom she has guided to heaven, toward the glory of God. It is Lewis' literary way of confessing his faith in the fact that there, in the presence of God, his wife, whose departure in death has been such a desolation to him, is now lost in the rapture of God."

Wow, God! I am more in love with You and the things You reveal to my heart. Your depth is immeasurable and Your love steadfast. Answer the cry of my heart, for You alone does my heart wait. I pour out my heart before You and wait in silence. My heart overflows with a pleasing theme... You are great and besides You, what on earth can I desire? Nothing can satisfy the depth of my soul as You have.


Kelli B said...

Jo-you have revealed such a tender part of who you are. Thank you for sharing honestly.

It's like a gentle dance I'm seeing in your poetry flowing from the depths of your soul and experience onto paper (online). It's beautiful.

What you say draws me deeper and deeper into curiosity and desire to know Jesus, to explore the scripture, to read more...

Thank you for being so faithful and so REAL. So real...

JoPappa said...

Passion is a good word.

That's what is happening in you: passion is becoming a good word.
I have to credit my sources, otherwise people may think I speak Italian! The thoughts I shared are from ...

Peter Schakel, "Reason and Imagination in C.S. Lewis: A Study in 'Till We Have Faces'; Pub. Eerdmanns; Grand Rapids, and he is quoting Dante via The Comedy of Dante Alighieri . . . Cantica III: Paradise, trans. Dorothy L. Sayers and Barbara Reynolds (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1962), p. 329.

leah said...

wow, this entry from someone who claims they hate studying??

i just recently bought lewis' _four loves_ and i'm looking forward to reading that.

ange said...

"Poi si torno all' eterna fontana."

"then she turned back to the Eternal Fountain."

what an amazing feeling to be able to have about a wife. that's from Paradisio, I love Dante, and I love that CS Lewis loved Dante and I love that you love CS Lewis.

the four loves is good too. everyone should have a mutual appreciation society

Keith said...

I just walked into an empty house. And I know with sudents gone because of break there will be many more days like this in the two weeks to come.

As I entered the house my brain cried out for noise and busyiness. But I knew my heart and soul were crying out for silence before the Lord. Reading your blog just confirmed my heart's cry.


Anonymous said...

I literally just got through reading A Grief Observed. I got to the end and decided to google what the last sentence meant. So thank you for telling me. I took a lot from the book but of the things that I took there was one line that took me on a journey. The one line that John Piper also got out of the book "GOD KILLED GOD." God is a good god but His way of showing good to us could seem, in a way at some point in our lives, like He makes his people go through things which days, hours, or seconds before they happen did not and could not seem to be possible. God's good is at God's standard which cannot be pared.