We’re the kids who’ve seen the darkness
Always looking for the light
Honestly, this world is so crazy dark sometimes. The past two weeks—no, honestly, the past two years—have been full of so much darkness and horror that it’s sometimes difficult to see beyond my tears. But there is hope in the darkness.
At the beginning of summer, I read C.S. Lewis’s essay “The Weight of Glory,” and besides blowing my mind, it also made me think of Jon Foreman’s (the C.S. Lewis of our day) song “You Don’t Know How Beautiful You Are.” I’d like to think Foreman had this essay in mind when he wrote his song.
Bear with me now as I share a good half of each of these 🙂
C.S. Lewis writes:
We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves—that, though we cannot, yet these projections can, enjoy in themselves that beauty grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. They tell us that “beauty born of murmuring sound” will pass into a human face; but it won’t. Or not yet. For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.
To which Foreman adds:
Your hidden scars
Leave your weapons
Where they are
You’ve been hiding
But I know your wounded heart
You don’t know how beautiful you are
C.S. Lewis replies:
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.
Where we’re headed
Is a world apart
From where we started
We’ve come so far
From all this rain
From present pain
We’re bound together
And our lives are bound to change
You don’t know how beautiful you are.
This next year is going to change me. I know three things: I want to live honestly; I want to love deeply; I want to live for the glory of God. I do all three imperfectly now, and when this next year is over, I will still be doing them imperfectly. But may my life always reflect the glory of the One who made me. By His grace, there will be gardens from this rain.
C.S. Lewis quotations taken from his essay “The Weight of Glory.”
Jon Foreman lyrics from his website.
(If you love Switchfoot and Foreman like I do, check out the new album “Where The Light Shines Through.” It’s amazing!)