Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"My Dear Wormwood..." Leave Me Alone!

What a week I've had!  What began with only a vague awareness of a literary work, soon gave way to a rush of influence by the C.S. Lewis masterpiece, The Screwtape Letters.

I had heard of this book.  I understood what it claimed to be.  In fact, I had purchased a copy of this book as a gift for my son-in-law for Christmas; not because I had thought it to be the perfect gift, but at the suggestion of my daughter on her husband's behalf.

A few weeks after Christmas I received an email from a friend inviting my husband and I to attend a theatrical performance of, what else?  The Screwtape Letters.  Being distracted by life, I failed to respond to the invitation and even forgot to tell my husband about it.
Two more weeks pass by.  My husband mentions a blurb he had heard on the radio about this particular show coming to Portland.  It jolted my memory of the email, and we then discussed the possibility of getting tickets.  He was eager.  I was impartial.
With tickets purchased and a week until showtime, we decided some preparation would add to our appreciation of the event.  With the new-fangled technology, I purchased and downloaded a digital copy of the book to be read on my iPad.

Together each evening, Brian and I would gather for study of The Screwtape Letters.  I read the challenging text aloud, hoping that Brian was able to understand at least some of what I was fumbling through.  It is the type of book that shouldn't be rushed through in a week.  It requires time to reflect, to ponder,to decipher, to chew on the intensity and the subtlety.  It is also the kind of book that begs for certain passages to be underlined and highlighted, with notetaking in the margins so amazing parts can be revisited, reevaluated, and re-appreciated.

None of which was possible for us while cramming on an iPad.

That said, we did get a lot out of our reading.  Our regret was that in our truncated study, our ultimate results were certainly truncated too.
Showtime came.  It was amazing; a two-person cast, with only one of those actually speaking, it was unique.  It was thought provoking.  It was humbling to recognize human foibles present in oneself, the results of Satan and his minions successfully understanding the natural man and effectively leading us astray.  I use the collective "we" loosely.  Perhaps I am the only one weak and impressionable....

I have since thought a lot about The Screwtape Letters.  I recognize it to be full of profound truths, with Mr. Lewis being directly inspired.  I liken it to sneaking a peek at the opposing team's playbook.  If we can understand their game plan, with all of their strategies and scheming, we are certainly better equipped to construct an effective offense, while fortifying our team's defense.  They play dirty. They intend to win. Our eternities are at stake, but we have God on our side.  Sorry, Screwtape.

Imagine my delight on opening my valentine gift and finding a hard copy of The Screwtape Letters.  My husband knows me so well.  He knows that I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy that I could reread slowly and deliberately and make my own, with any amount of notations and scribbles.  It will become a treasure, for sure.

I feel like someone has been trying to get my attention to become familiar this book.  And it took nearly being beaten on the head with it in order to wake me up.  If your curiosity is piqued even just a little, I would encourage you to have a go at it.  It may not be the easiest book you ever read, but I guarantee it will be one of the most eye-opening.


neffie said...

My interest is piqued. I loved this post and I so know how Satan uses our insecurities against us. I've actually been thinking about that quite a bit the last couple of days. Thanks for another great post!

Outside the Pumpkin Shell said...

I have tried and tried and tried to get through that book. I think the key IS to make notes and scribbles! I'm going to tackle it again!

I love how you said God is on your side. At those time when I can feel the relentless pull of Satan, I have said allowed "You can't have me. I am stronger than you. I have a body. And I have my God. And He fights for me."

Maybe I'll reopen Screwtape today...

Kim said...

My curiosity was raised after the passage you read in RS. I've never read this book before. Maybe I need to add it to my stack. I'm not much of a Narnia fan and so I tend to overlook other books by CS Lewis. Obviously I'm missing out.

Laura said...

I've never heard of this book either. Sounds so interesting!

Larry said...

No coincidence in the words that seek your attention. The waiting line of friends to be found, captured in the pages bound.

Larry said...

Oh.....I'm waiting for the 3rd beating to motivate me to read this. Maybe a subtle arm twist. Like my favorite 1000+ page novel. The 3rd time always conquers.

Missus Wookie said...

oh I like the Screwtape letters and was tickled as a teenager (when first reading) my parents bought me a Quakerly version as well.