I like books with important theologians addressing important emotions with insight. And that’s what we get with The Consolations of Theology, and the last chapter couldn’t be more inviting: C.S. Lewis on pain as discussed by Robert Banks.
It had not dawned on me how much pain CS Lewis experienced. I did not see anything I didn’t know about but I simply had never thought of him in this way. Robert Banks, who has experienced his own pain, sketches the various traumas of CS Lewis’ life: the death of his mother when he was a child, the withdrawal of his father, Warnie (his brother) being sent to boarding school, Lewis himself experiencing the oddities of one boarding school and transferring to another, WW I and his strange pact with Paddie Moore and living with Moore’s mother for years, public opposition to his Christian writings — esp those for children, bad health, Warnie’s oddities, and Joy’s death. It depresses me to read this about Lewis.
In the midst of all this his endless yearning for Joy, his joyous prose, his romping through Narnia and the space trilogy, the joyous prose of his many books and the Inklings … and two books on pain.
The Problem of Pain and A Grief Observed.
The first is more philosophical and turns the argument against God from pain into an argument for God; he explroes what it means and doesn’t mean to speak of the all-powerfulness of God; he dwells on the free will defense and the purposes of pain — it leads us to God.
The second book is a heart opened — when Joy died he began to journal and all the ups and downs of grief are set out. The book was not intended to be published; he simply journaled. Robert Banks says this book helped him more than any of the others when he lost his wife.