I recently finished reading Till We Have Faces, one of C.S. Lewis’ less-famous works of fiction. Aside from gradually becoming enthralled with it, this piece made me think. Aside from Lewis’ portrayal of humanity, self-knowledge, and the natural corruption of human love, I found various passages which lent themselves to spiritual analogy:
“This,” she said, “I have always — at least, ever since I can remember — had a kind of longing for death.”
“Ah, Psyche,” I said, “have I made you so little happy as that?”
“No, no, no,” she said. “You don’t understand. Not that kind of longing. It was when I was happiest that I longed most. It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills, the three of us, with the wind and the sunshine . . . where you couldn’t see Glome or the palace. Do you remember? The colour and the smell, and looking across at the Grey Mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche come! But I couldn’t (not yet) come and I didn’t know where I was to come to. It almost hurt me. I felt like a bird in a cage when the other birds of its kind are flying home.”
The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing— to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from— my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back. All my life the god of the Mountain has been wooing me. Oh, look up once at least before the end and wish me joy. I am going to my lover. Do you not see now — ?”
I too have some sense of this longing. When I sit on the beach and look out over the Indian Ocean, or when I sit on a galloping horse, eyes closed, and arms outstretched, or when I lie in the grass staring up at the stars at night, I sense the longing that Lewis attributed to Psyche. But unlike Psyche, mine is not an empty longing. I know without a doubt that I was indeed created for something more. I know the One who embodies beauty and Who has created all beauty. I know that I have a great Lover who is wooing me and calling me to Himself. Yet I do not always hold this longing in mind, because those moments of longing are few and far between. They do not make up the majority of my days. No, indeed, the majority of my days is consumed with the here and now, the Glome of this world, shrouded in darkness.
May I always remember this longing and “seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God, setting my mind on things that are above, not on things on this earth…for my life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).