November 16th, 2014

rose window

Surprise, surprise

I just finished re-reading Surprised by Joy, by C.S. Lewis. I have read it several times, though not for many years now. I first read it at about the age of 21, in the midst of the tremendous spiritual expansion that accompanied my marriage, my call to ministry, and my entry into seminary. I identified with Lewis's description of his inner life growing up; every other page found me saying, "me, too! me too!"

Lewis was 57 when Surprised by Joy was published, just a few years younger than I am now. Re-reading the book from the vantage point of my present age, I identify with Lewis the author rather than Lewis the youth. There is a difference of emphasis: some things which struck me so forcefully forty years ago still seem important, but no longer so earth-shattering; meanwhile, I notice many things that I breezed by before. It's like reading a different book, but then, I am what is different, not the text.