September 9, 2007
Under the Mercy
I just finished the book A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. The book is autobiographical and deals with the relationship between the author and his wife. During the ten years or so that the story takes place they convert to Christianity. What makes this a remarkable read is their extraordinary outlook on life, and their own love, and how it moved and shaped their life. Their conversion wasn't a feel good moment in the back of a church. It was shaped while they were still pagans and was brought about by having intelligent Christian friends and surprisingly letters to C.S. Lewis. Vanauken happened to be attending Oxford when he was considering converting and after reading several of Lewis's books wrote to him one night asking his opinion. Lewis wrote back and started what ended up being a life long friendship between the two. All of their correspondence in contained within the book.
Here is an excerpt from the book (it was Vanauken's last day in England):
"On that last day I met C.S. Lewis at the Eastgate for lunch. We talked, I recall, about death or, rather, awakening after death. Whatever it would be like, we thought, our response to it would be 'Why of course! Of course it's like this. How else could it have possibly been.' We both chuckled at that. I said it would be a sort of coming home, and he agreed. Lewis said he hoped Davy and i would be coming back to England soon, for we mustn't get out of touch. 'At all events,' he said with a cheerful grin, 'we'll certainly meet again, here -or there.' Then it was time to go, and we drained our mugs. When we emerged on to the busy street with the traffic streaming past, we shook hands, and he said: 'I shan't say goodbye. Well meet again.' Then he plunged into traffic. I stood there watching him. When he reached the pavement on the other side, he turned round as though he knew somehow that I would still be standing there in the front of the Eastgate. Then he raised his voice in a great roar that easily overcame the noise of the cars and the buses. Heads turned and at least one car swerved. 'Besides,' he bellowed with a great grin, 'Christians NEVER say goodbye!'"
Oh and a random picture from this weekend's adventures: