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Friday, September 12, 2014

Thoughts on Lewis

In doing some googling and reading on the concept of humans longing for home or place, I stumbled upon some of C.S. Lewis' writings that were also once given to me by my undergraduate lead professor and mentor.  In Lewis' sermon, The Weight of Glory, he talks about a longing that we have for some place.  A place that we crave and cannot attain here. Though many of us try. In trying to find it and identify this longing, by calling it Romanticism, Nostalgia, and Beauty, Lewis comments on William Wordsworth:

"Wordsworth's expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all that is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering."

I will continue to quote Lewis because he said it better than I ever will:

"The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not IN them, it only came THROUGH them, and what came through them was longing. These things -- the beauty, the memory of our own past -- are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers.  For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited."

Yet, still we try to attain this place here on Earth.  A home. A place. I want it too.  A house with a wrap around porch. A swing in a yard filled with big oak trees that are homes to the tree frogs and cicadas that chirp at night all plopped down in rural Tennessee. I can envision it and taste it and hear it, but is that really the ideal? Hmmm... I don't think it is. I can't fathom it, yet I believe it is there.

I am reminded of an Emily Dickinson poem that I had to memorize in high school...

I never saw a moor

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a billow be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the checks were given.

In the end, I want to talk with people. Interview them and ask them these things... What is it that you long for in your home? What is ideal for you? What is your dream? I want to take their answers and investigate them. Compare them and see what I find. I think I will find that will all desire the same thing even though we all may not realize it.

Works Cited

Dickinson, Emily. I never saw a moor. (from memory)

Lewis, C.S. The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1949. Print.


  1. used this is my worldview class tonight actually meeting right now

  2. Wow!!! That means a lot! Will call soon! Miss you...

  3. My heart will never tire of your ponderings. Beautifully done.

    1. Thank you! Think of you often in writing!