Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Great Divorce 4

This is my last Divorce post, and you're probably so grateful huh? :)

Lewis and MacDonald are talking again, this time (again) about why angels don't go down to hell to save souls. MacDonald takes a blade of grass, and with it, points out a crack in the dirt that is one of many through which the bus Lewis came in on might have traveled through. Lewis argues that he had seen an infinite abyss, and cliffs, and then this country on top of those cliffs.

MacDonald: Aye. But the voyage was not mere locomotion. That bus, and all you inside it, were increasing in size.
Lewis: Do you mean then that Hell - all that infinite empty town - is down in some little crack like this?
MacDonald: Yes. All Hell is smaller than one pebble of your earthly world: but it is smaller than one atom of this world, the Real World. Look at yon butterfly. If it swallowed all Hell, Hell would not be big enough to do it any harm or to have any taste.
Lewis: It seems big enough when you're in it.
MacDonald: And yet all loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies, and itchings that it contains, if rolled into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of joy that is felt by the least in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all. Bad cannot succeed even in being bad as truly as good is good. If all Hell's miseries together entered the consciousness of yon wee yellowbird on the bough there, they would be swallowed up without a trace, as if one drop of ink had been dropped into that Great Ocean to which your terrestrial Pacific itself is only a molecule.
"Only the Greatest of all can make Himself small enough to enter Hell. For the higher a thing is, the lower it can descend."

Think about all the hells you've been through. Could you honestly say that your smallest joy swallows up your greatest pain? I can't say that. Maybe someday? I don't know. But I'm also not in Heaven. I like the idea of it, and I hope it's true. But I definitely don't feel that way now.

The Great Divorce 3

In this scene, a mother Ghost and her brother Spirit are talking about the passing of the mother's son, Michael, when he was just a boy. The mother is bitter that God took Michael away, and is focused solely on seeing him again. Her brother argues that she needs to come to love God before she can see her son again, or coming to Heaven will have been in vain. She must understand that God has also waited and suffered to see His children, and that He loves them.

Mother: If He loved me He'd let me see my boy. If He loved why did He take Michael away from me? I wasn't going to say anything about that. But it's pretty hard to forgive, you know.
Brother: But He had to take Michael away. Partly for Michael's sake...
Mother: I'm sure I did my best to make Michael happy. I gave up my whole life...
Brother: Human beings can't make one another really happy for long. And secondly, for your sake. He wanted your merely instinctive love for your child (tigresses share that, you know!) to turn into something better. He wanted you to love Michael as He understands love. You cannot love a fellow creature fully till you love God.

They continue on arguing, the mother fierce in her defense of her love for her son, while her brother tries to help her see that hey love would have turned sour because she never loved him as God loves us. It was uncontrolled. Isn't that interesting, that love, with all good intentions, can be uncontrolled and completely ruin the relationship? Yet again, we need to use our passions within the bounds the Lord sets.

Mother then says that the past was all she had, and the brother argues that it was all she chose to have. This part stuck out to me because I've seen it in myself, and definitely seen it in others around me. When the past is so good, what possible joy could the present bring? Nothing could compare, therefore we live as life once was. It's incredibly depressing.

Mother: Oh, of course, I'm wrong. Everything I say or do is wrong, according to you.
"But of course!" said the Spirit, shining with love and mirth so that my eyes were dazzled. "That's what we all find when we reach this country. We've all been wrong! That's the great joke. There's no need to go on pretending one was right! After that we being living."

At first, this part made me sad because I have a lot of pride. Am I wrong? (Obviously.) How am I wrong? (Probably in every way.) And yet, this Spirit is so full of joy with what he has come to know, that his past wrong knowledge doesn't even matter. He is so happy that he has found peace that it doesn't bother him that it wasn't his way. Will I have the courage and humility to accept that when the time comes?

Thinking about it more, I like it because it gives me hope - God doesn't care that I've been wrong, he cares that I accept His truth when I learn it. I can live with that.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Great Divorce 2

In this scene, the main character (Lewis himself) is talking to the Spirit who came to try and persuade him to go into the mountains - it is his hero, George MacDonald. Lewis is asking MacDonald why all the Ghosts must come to Heaven, and then be persuaded. If the Spirits wanted them to be happy, why didn't they go down into Hell to rescue them? MacDonald said that the Spirits actually come quite far from the mountains to rescue Ghosts - their purpose is to journey further and further into the mountains, so when they come back for the Ghosts, they are coming immeasurable distances on the slim chance of saving one person.

Lewis: But what of all the poor Ghosts who never get into the onmibus at all?
MacDonald: Everyone who wishes it does. Never fear. There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.

I can see how some people could read this and think that God is being mean-spirited, or doesn't care if we go to Hell or not. But really, isn't this what He does on a daily basis already? We constantly make our own choices and he will never stop that - so if we choose that we will be happier in Hell, living our sin, then that's what He'll let us do.

This so logically states the reason - and the goodness - that comes from having our agency. It's beautiful.