This is a longer section from ‘Perelandra’ (book two of C. S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy), which challenged me on a number of topics, especially my response when circumstances don’t turn out as I had expected or hoped.
‘ [The Lady speaking:] “But how can one wish any of those waves not to reach us which Maledil is rolling towards us?”
Against his better judgement, Ransom found himself goaded into an argument.
“But even you,” he said, “when you first saw me, I know you were expecting and hoping that I was the King. When you found I was not, your face changed. Was that event not unwelcome?”
[The Lady speaking:] “I have been so young until this moment, that all my life now seems to have been a kind of sleep. I have thought that I was being carried, and behold, I was walking.” Ransom asked her what she meant.
“What you have made me see,” answered the Lady, “is as plain as the sky, but I never saw it before. Yet it has happened every day. One goes into the forest to pick food and already the thought of one fruit rather than another has grown in one’s mind. Then, it may be, one finds a different fruit and not the fruit one thought of. One joy was expected and another given. But this I never noticed before – that at the very moment of the finding there is in the mind a kind of thrusting back, or setting aside. The picture of the fruit you have not found is still, for a moment, before you. And if you wished – if it were possible to wish – you could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got. You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other.”
“…you could send your soul after the good you had expected,
instead of turning it to the good you had got.
You could refuse the real good;
you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other.”
[the Lady speaking:] “…the first picture does stay in the mind quite a long time – many beats of the heart – after the other good has come. And this, O Piebald, is the glory and the wonder you have made me see, that it is I, I myself, who turn from the good expected to the given good. Out of my own heart I do it. One can conceive of a heart which did not: which clung to the good it had first thought of and turned the good which it was given into no good.”‘
Is there a good you have been expecting which hasn’t come? Have circumstances turned out differently than expected?
Don’t cling to the expected good and miss the good that God has for you now.
What good has God given to you which you never would have expected?
(These questions are as much for me as for anyone else reading this. And if you have never read Perelandra before, why don’t you give it a try?)