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A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A C. S. Lewis-loving misfit who can’t play chess

Well that would be me.

(Should’ve put chess in my seven sevens “can’t do” list)

Not that I haven’t talked about myself enough lately or that anyone wants to read any more about moi, but this is a weblog after all so here it is:

Although motherhood forces me to multi-task, I still tend to focus rather narrowly on whatever I’m working on at the moment. Case in point: my 6-1/2-year-old beats me at chess. Really. Granted, he’s got more experience playing chess than I do, and I’ve got an aggravating habit of doing really stupid things like mistaking a king for a queen (it’s those cheap tiny plastic playing pieces, sheesh...okay, so I have a knack for missing the obvious!) But apparently he can assess the entire board better, as a general rule, than I can.

*Sigh.* With a capital “S.”

********

I’ve been reading C. S. Lewis’ Letters to an American Lady and have been reminded of the reason I admire, respect and, okay, love Lewis so much. (It’s allright to say that, isn’t it?) In the letters, Lewis is so...nice, so sympathetic, so gracious. He always expresses concern for the lady’s well-being and comments on what she writes, speaking of his own concerns that may relate. He doesn’t ignore or posture either over what he doesn’t understand in her letters – he tells her of it, though ever so graciously and with a bit of wry, self-effacing wit. Lewis is wonderfully honest about human weakness, including his own, yet appears comfortable confessing his ordinary thoughts and feelings with not a shred of gossip nor manipulation nor excuse. Very refreshing! And very real.

I see “character battles” being waged by supporters of various prominent or historical theologians as though the theologian about whom the most nice things are said must be the most correct. Certainly, personal character is important, and we should all strive to eradicate our own sin. But don’t tell me that (insert your favorite theologian’s name here) never blew/blows his/her top or struggles/d with sinful attitude of some kind. It seems to me that humility about their own sin is more the mark of a saint than a supposedly perfect or near-perfect record (as related by supporters) is.

But back to Lewis. He maintained correspondence with Mary (among others) for ten years, through his relationship with Joy Davidman and right up until he was no longer able to correspond at all (about three months before his death). I found this record of their prolonged, genuine, and truly caring friendship most inspiring; his last few letters to her (one dictated to Walter Hooper) are very moving. This is the last:

The Kilns etc
30 Aug 63

Dear Mary
Thanks for yours of the 27. I am quite comfortable but very easily tired. B. B. [brother Warnie] is still away so I have all the mail to do. So you must expect my letters to be very few and very short. More of a wave of a hand than a letter.

Yours
Jack

********

When I first found the blogosphere and started commenting and then blogging, I thought I had at last found a place where I “fit.” Well...though I’m not yet convinced that I was altogether wrong, I do wonder if I was right. I feel like Herbie in “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.” I belong to no specific blogging category whatsoever, only general ones: “Christian,” “pro-life,” and “woman blogger.” Otherwise I’m in the “doesn’t fit any other category” category. I’m not on the rolls of any of the current hot blogging “clubs.” As a writer I’m not so imaginative or profound. I hardly ever review books. I don’t write (much of any value, anyway) on theology. I barely blog anything political. I have a great interest in “intellectual” stuff but am not able to delve deeply enough nor understand well enough (nor muster an IQ high enough) to be a viable part of those conversations. Besides that, I’m not (yet?) Reformed. Woe is me!

I’m a homeschooler who blogs about homeschooling maybe 2% of the time. As a professional musician I blog music 0.5% of the time. I post photos but am not in the photoblog circle because my blog isn't exclusively a photoblog (my choice, I know). I’m a mom who hardly ever writes about “mommy” stuff. I love the outdoors and have an interest in science too, but big woop. There is no one particular thing that I write about with much substance except contraception and, um, never mind, and that doesn’t exactly win me friends either. Even my C. S. Lewis posts are not consistent nor academic enough to qualify for any C. S. Lewis clubs.

Well.

Maybe I’ll just wander north & look for elves who pull teeth, or choo-choos with square wheels, or water pistols that squirt jelly, or un-matched socks, or...

10 Comments:

  • Keep writing, or blogging.

    One reason for blogging is that there are always two audiences that are very important: God and yourself, ideally in that order.

    By the way, of course it's OK to say you love Lewis. Think of his Four Loves. At least a couple of them would be appropriate.

    By Blogger Martin LaBar, at 9:45 AM  

  • Blogging for God? Hm.

    At any rate, you do need to decide for whom you really want to blog. If you want some community, it really may be worth it to reconceive the blog and focus on something that will let you fit.

    If you're happy with the small but loyal fan base that having a blog like yours inspires, stick with it. It's probably most natural and perhaps most personally satisfying to go with what moves you.

    I've done so with my own blog, to which one could apply all the same critiques, and am pretty content.

    By Blogger Nate, at 1:52 AM  

  • Thank you, Martin and Nate. I appreciate the encouragement and perspective.

    Nate, I can’t speak for Prof. LaBar, but I took his statement about God as an audience to mean that one ought to blog as an offering, as part of serving God simply through being a Christian.

    Martin, I do believe in the four loves. Trouble is, the term “love” these days is either tossed off casually (as in, “I just love that dress” – I say things like that myself quite often), or understood in association with a certain role. If I say, “I love my mother,” love of mother is generally understood. If I say, “I love my friend,” close friendship is understood. People understand “I love my dog.” And if I say, “I love my doctor,” that will probably be found acceptable within a certain compartmented understanding. But if I say, “I love C. S. Lewis,” though I myself know and understand what I mean by it, others may suspect I’m caught up in disciple-love, or misplaced (or substitutionary) father-love, or even some sort of sycophantic- or savior-love. But I'd say that the love I'm expressing is comprised of affinity and appreciation, with a bit of philia and storge’ (in a removed sense, of course) thrown in.

    By Blogger Bonnie, at 10:38 PM  

  • Bonnie, I'm glad you write about all kinds of things! It seems that so many people get stuck about blogging in what they do (mommying, teaching, being married/single, whatever!) and it's so refreshing to see all the many things you do write about; keep it up!

    By Blogger Ashley, at 4:26 PM  

  • I’m not on the rolls of any of the current hot blogging "clubs."

    I've had you on my blogroll for ages. Does this mean I'm not hot? (Sniffles and puts on courageous smile).

    Actually Bonnie I don't really fit a category either. I like it that way. I have never intended to write on one topic or for one group. It's a personal weblog. i.e. it's whatever the person wants it to be.

    By Blogger Catez, at 7:52 PM  

  • There is no one particular thing that I write about with much substance except contraception and, um, never mind, and that doesn’t exactly win me friends either.

    I wouldn't necessariy say it earns you enemies either! I have enjoyed our exchanges and I enjoy your photos and look forward to your articles on the topic, even if I disagree with them.

    By Blogger Elena, at 8:31 PM  

  • Gee, thanks guys!

    Thank so much for reading and indulging my lament. There were two parts to it, really – a legitimate question and also a, um, paranoid one. I do lose my mooring at times and slip into unhealthy patterns of thinking. Thanks for helping me out!

    Catez, I’m immensely honored to be a member of your "club!" Ashley, thanks for the vote of confidence, it means a lot. Elena, thanks for your ongoing interest and comments, and I’m glad you like my photos!

    As always, thanks to any and all who read this blog. You are part of a, um, very select “club” ;-D

    By Blogger Bonnie, at 11:21 PM  

  • Bonnie, would you consider doing a posting on your pictures - somewhat technical regarding what camera you use, what inspires you etc.? I'd love to read about that!

    By Blogger Elena, at 11:06 PM  

  • Bonnie, I've been lurking on your blog for about a year now. I love reading your blog *because* you are well-rounded. You're not narrowly focused, and I find that an enjoyable and edifying thing. I found your blog because I was looking for perspectives on contraception and infertility treatments. But I do enjoy the photography and the down-to-earth commentary about C.S. Lewis.

    By Blogger Adrianne, at 11:16 PM  

  • Adrianne, thanks so much for your comment. Thanks for reading! (IMO, there's no such thing as a lurker on a blog :-) )

    Elena, thanks for your question! I'll try to come up with something.

    By Blogger Bonnie, at 2:30 PM  

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