I’ve seen this quote in two places over the last few weeks, maybe you have too. It struck a huge chord in me.
Wow … Written 72 years ago by C. S. Lewis about the crisis of the moment, the “atomic bomb”.
An example of looking backward to move forward.
Lewis has always been such an inspiration to many, including me. His writings are thought provoking and always bring me to spiritual examination. If you’ve never read much about him, his life is quite a story! Look him up. Read online about him or pick up a book. Better still read some of his books. I’m sure most of you’ve heard about his children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Surely, you know him … a prolific writer. His adult writing is just as amazing as “Chronicles”. He’s always on my reading list.
72 years ago, he wrote this:
As you read, replace “Coronavirus” with the words “atomic bomb” …
In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
— “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) in Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays
A quite convicting perspective, I’m trying to make it my own …
I don’t want to be found huddled, even though confined. I want to be found praying, working/writing something meaningful, reading, learning, listening to music, connecting with children (in any way possible), playing, chatting to loved ones and neighbors, engaging with those in my household, and seeking God … living my best life where I am planted!
Former generations dealt with their own realities, many far more dire than ours, yet they lived in the midst and thrived with every change handed them.
Looking back encourages us to move forward … I think of my grandparents in the Great Depression with many more mouths to feed.
They learned better than I to live with grace and generosity. Putting others first. Caring for neighbors and strangers. Trusting God in horrible personal circumstances.
Lewis is so insightful …
“Do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation…”
This may be a new microbe but the situation has been shared by many
civilizations, many having it far worse …
it just has a new name.
Let’s not inflate ourselves or our fear by thinking we are the ONLY …
We Are NOT!
Be encouraged … Look Back and Move Forward.
I read this last week and in its humor, it hits the bullseye:
“Our parents and grandparents were drafted to war …
we’ve been asked to sit on the couch …
I think we’ve got this!!”
PS – If you are sheltering alone during this crisis and need some outside contact or need a little extra encouragement, private message me from Facebook and I will do my best to make contact with you! OR, you can leave me an email in the comments below and I will communicate with you!
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Love and prayers,
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