A Grief Observed by CS Lewis


A Grief Observed is a brilliant non-fiction reflection from C.S. Lewis on the grief he observed after his wife died after 3 years of their marriage. Lewis was madly in love with Joy Davidman, a Christian convert due in large part to Lewis’ writings. He wrote of her elsewhere to a friend:“I never expected to have, in my sixties, the happiness that passed me by in the twenties.” Lewis candidly journals about his anger and frustration at God, the reality of his life without her and the different stages of grieving his loss, all through the light of his tumultuous faith. Lewis comes to a whole new understanding of who God truly is and finds a sense of gratitude for the love he had experience with H.

Favourite Quotes:

Why is God so present in prosperity and absent in trouble?

The conclusion I dread is not that there is no God but “so this is who God is after all”

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you (20-21).

Only a real risk tests the reality of a belief (21).

Is God’s goodness just our desperate wish? Was Christ’s death a vile practical joke?

You will only discover Who you think God is when the stakes are horribly high.

God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t… He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down (45).

“My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of his presence? The Incarnation is the supreme example; it leaves all previous ideas of the Messiah in ruins.”

If you are not approaching God as the end but as the means, you are not approaching him at all.

I need Christ, not something that resembles him (speaking about receiving communion at an Anglican Church the following day).

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