08 March 2008

Letters to an American Lady

I picked up C. S. Lewis' Letters to an American Lady today (for 25 cents), a book I had seen but never owned or opened. It is not, as I thought, letters to Joy, his future wife, but to a southern aristocrat who had fallen on hard finanical times and suffered from numerous physical difficulties, who remains anonymous, and to whom Lewis wrote over 100 letters despite never meeting her.

A few of my favorite extracts thus far--

Aug 1, 1953, making me long to be happier to the mailman:
How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing (and perhaps, like you, I have met it only once) it is irresistible. If even 10% of the world's population had it, would not the whole world be converted and happy before a year's end?

Aug 10, 1953, expressing such delightful childlikeness:
I'm a panic-y person about money myself (which is a most shameful confession and a thing dead against Our Lord's words) and poverty frightens me more than anything else except large spiders and the tops of cliffs: one is sometimes even tempted to say that if God wanted us to live like the lilies of the field He might have given us an organism more like theirs! But of course He is right. And when you meet anyone who does live like the lilies, one sees that He is.

(According to Clyde Kilby, it was discovered after his death that Lewis gave away more than two thirds of his income.)

1 comment:

ErinOrtlund said...

Wow, I didn't know that about Lewis giving away so much of his income! Just one more reason to appreciate and admire him.

I think I may have read this book in high school, but I should definitely read it again. Thanks for the post!