The Wisdom of C.S. Lewis

atkins-bookshelf-quotationsC.S. Lewis (an Oxford professor): “We read to know we’re not alone. Do you think that is so?”

Chadwick (an undergraduate student): “I hadn’t thought of it like that before, sir.” 

Lewis: “No. Nor had I. I suppose some people would say we love to know we’re not alone. Would you?”

Chadwick: “Well, if you mean falling in love, well I haven’t really. I probably know more about love from books than from personal experience.”

Lewis thinks to himself: So did I. So did I, for so many years. How much I had to learn! How much I did learn, thanks to Joy [his wife who recently died from cancer], my teacher, my love. [Lewis didn’t know whether to envy this young man for the experience that still lay before him, or pity him for the pain he would have to endure. On the whole, envy, he supposed.]

Lewis: “Why love, if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore: only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain, now, is part of the happiness, then. That’s the deal.”

From the novel Shadowlands by Leonore Fleischer based on the screenplay by William Nicholson based on his stage play. Shadowlands, released in 1993, won numerous awards for screenwriter Nicholson, director Richard Attenborough, and lead actors Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.


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