That being said, I have found myself unusually on edge and apprehensive about the future of my country. Hmmm. . . . maybe election stress disorder IS a real thing. . .
Like most of you, (I suspect) I am finding myself in a quandary these days. I have made the conscious decision to no longer watch the news. I try to limit my time on social media platforms. I am trying examine my heart. I am looking toward the future. I am doing my best to love on people daily. I am talking to God.
In fact, . . . .
I am talking to God . . A LOT!
Fed up with the state of affairs in our country, I recently dusted off one of my copies (I have more than one) of C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters". You see, it is one of my very favorite books, . . . ever. It was originally published in 1942. However, on more than one occasion in my life, I have found it just as pertinent today as it was back then.
For those of you unfamiliar with "The Screwtape Letters", it is an allegory about the human condition and spiritual warfare. It is a series of letters from Uncle Screwtape (one of Satan's demons) to his apprentice, Wormwood. Wormwood is a "demon-in-training". The chapters (or "letters") are short, and the book, in total, is not very long. However, if you read it with your brain engaged, it will take you some time to get through. That said, I have decided to read it over again, during this exhausting election cycle.
Being the type of person that processes information better when I am able to write about it, I have decided to put my thoughts down in blog-format. Read them. Don't read them. Whatever. Basically, these will be my thoughts, as I re-read this wonderful work of art.
I would, however, welcome some company, as I read through the book. So, please, comment below if you have something to add. I will be curious to hear how these amazing words, by a brilliant man, impact you, personally. Of note: I am only going to blog portions of the chapters. I would highly recommend getting a copy to read in it's totality.
"My dear Wormwood, I note what you say about guiding your patient's reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naif? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy's clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connect thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons, we have largely altered that." . . . . .
. . . . . "The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle onto the Enemy's own ground. He can argue too; whereas in really practical propaganda of the kind I am suggesting He has been shown for centuries to be greatly the inferior of Our Father Below. By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient's reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result? Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to the universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences. Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. Teach him to call it "real life" and don't let him ask what he means by "real". . . . . .
. . . . ."I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. 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 defense 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.". . . .
. . . . "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.". . . .
. . . . "Do remember you are there to fuddle him.". . . .
My modern day interpretation?
1. The media is here to distract me. They are doing a great job.
2. "Real life" is also a distraction. My parents used to say, over and over again: "Don't sweat the small stuff, and there ain't nothin' big. Hmmm. . . seems much more profound now that I am older. . .
3. Sometimes I need to be quiet, so I can hear the still, small voice of my Creator. This world is noisy. The enemy does that on purpose.
4. The best way for me to see in the dark is to turn on the light. My enemy is a great deceiver. Calling him out on his antics merely turns on the light. It exposes him for what he is: a manipulator that is intent on stirring up hatred and strife.
5. I will continue to say this over, and over. There is more that unites us, than divides us. I would like to start my conversations there. Finding common ground and common goals is the trail head for my journey.
6. When all else fails, remember The Golden Rule:
Luke 6:31 Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
7. If the commandment to love is hard, try empathy:
"The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost" G.K. Chesterton