A Dose of “Real Life”

From C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters

(note: ‘Enemy’ refers to God, ‘Father’ refers to Satan; the letter is written by a demon)

One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment. Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years’ work beginning to totter. If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch. The Enemy presumably made the counter-suggestion (you know how one can never quite overhear What He says to them?) that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been His line for when I said “Quite. In fact much too important to tackle it the end of a morning”, the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added “Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind”, he was already half way to the door. Once he was in the street the battle was won. I showed him a newsboy shouting the midday paper, and a No. 73 bus going past, and before he reached the bottom of the steps I had got into him an unalterable conviction that, whatever odd ideas might come into a man’s head when he was shut up alone with his books, a healthy dose of “real life” (by which he meant the bus and the newsboy) was enough to show him that all “that sort of thing” just couldn’t be true. He knew he’d had a narrow escape and in later years was fond of talking about “that inarticulate sense for actuality which is our ultimate safeguard against the aberrations of mere logic”. He is now safe in Our Father’s house.

These letters were written by Lewis about 70 years ago. There was no TV, no internet and very little public advertisements. Yet, Lewis writes about “Real Life” being a distraction from thinking about the unseen, kingdom realm. Now, the distractions are non-stop, the enemy is thrilled with how consumed we are with “Real Life”.

I often feel guilty when I am being unproductive. I really enjoy sitting and reading a book, or just sitting, however, there is money to be made, and bills to pay. I have to be as productive as possible or I won’t keep up with the rest of the world.  What an unfortunate way to live. For this reason, I decided to begin keeping a blog. This helps me take that time to get away from “Real Life”, and focus on Eternal Life.

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