In the midst of the Augustine I’m reading now, I got out of my library a copy of C.S. Lewis’s “A Grief Observed”, a book I had bought years ago but never started reading until last night and as I started it, one thought came to me.
I wish I had read this sooner.
I was thinking back to a loss of mine last year. I remember going through a time of grief. I’m sure it can’t compare to that of Lewis who had lost his beloved wife to cancer, but I could tell that we both knew grief.
I believe people in grief want hope most of all. I thought about that last night and thinking about personal struggles of mine. I remember thinking, “God. If I could really know for one second that I will overcome, I believe I could truly be happy.”
Being in grief is like being in a prison cell. You almost wish the prison cell had no windows for if you couldn’t see normalcy outside your cell, you could convince yourself it didn’t exist.
Yet this cell does have a window and you can see outside of it and it seems quite unusual that someone will even try to see into your cell. You see normalcy going on and you grieve wondering if you will have that again.
What would make all the difference? If someone came over to you. Imagine what it would mean if someone saw you as normal as well. Even if they couldn’t help you out, to know that you are seen would be great enough.
Lewis once said, and it might be in this work, that it is more important that Heaven should exist than that any of us should make it there. Kreeft calls that a statement that will need years of unpacking.
Lewis’s point is simply that hope needs an object. Even if the object is not reached, there is an object that hope looks forward to. Bibilcally, hope isn’t wishful thinking. Certain events are called hopes. Hope in the Bible is that which is looked forward to in certainty but has not yet arrived.
Biblically also, we do have the promise of hope in all our circumstances. We are not really alone in the prison cell. The triune God of Scripture is there with us, even at times when we can’t feel his presence, a term I hesitate to use anyway.
Thus, to those in grief I say, look out the window. It will soon be yours and even better than this!