A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

By C. S. Lewis

During this vintage trial of religion, C. S. Lewis probes the basic problems with existence and loss of life, and summons those that grieve to sincere mourning and wish in the middle of loss.

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Additional resources for A Grief Observed

Example text

If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t. Either way, we’re for it. What do people mean when they say, ‘I am not afraid of God because I know He is good’? Have they never even been to a dentist? Yet this is unendurable. ’ But one can’t tell how serious that bid is, for nothing is staked on it. If it suddenly became a real possibility, then, for the first time, we should discover how seriously we had meant it.

In its stark honesty and unadorned simplicity the book has a power which is rare: it is the power of unabashed truth. To fully appreciate the depths of his grief I think it is important to understand a little more of the circumstances of Jack and Mother’s initial meeting and relationship. My mother and father (novelist W. L. Gresham) were both highly intelligent and talented people and in their marriage there were many conflicts and difficulties. Mother was brought up an atheist, and became a communist.

In referring to this book in conversation, one often tends to leave out, either inadvertently or from laziness, the indefinite article at the beginning of the title. This we must not do, for the title completely and thoroughly describes what this book is, and thus expresses very accurately its real value. Anything entitled “Grief Observed” would have to be so general and nonspecific as to be academic in its approach and thus of little use to anyone approaching or experiencing bereavement. This book, on the other hand, is a stark recounting of one man’s studied attempts to come to grips with and in the end defeat the emotional paralysis of the most shattering grief of his life.

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