After turning forty, I made a list of life goals.
I probably should have made the list when I turned thirty because my list is a little longer than my life expectancy! One of the things on my list is to read everything C.S. Lewis wrote. Of course, I started with Mere Christianity and then went on to read Surprised by Joy. But, then, I happened upon a quite unexpected treasure, a novel he wrote in 1943. It’s a delightful fantasy, full of wisdom and savor. His storytelling was splendid with a graceful, fluid narrative.
Want to know what it is?
It’s part one of his Space Trilogy, entitled: Out of the Silent Planet. Lewis’ story opens with his main character, a Philologist named Elwin Ransom, on a walking tour of the English countryside. On his journey, he runs into some shady characters from his old University days. After some dinner, conversation, and a few drinks, the terrified Ransom realized he had been hoodwinked by his former coeds as he wakes up in a metal ball soaring through the light-filled heavens, on his way to another world. The inhabitants of this foreign world called it Malacandra.
On Malacandra, Ransom learns many things including the unique power and significance of remembering. In a conversation he had with one of the friendly inhabitants of Malacandra, the Alien spoke of their first meeting: “When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly. It was nothing. Now, it is growing something as we remember it. But, still we know very little about it. What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die; what it makes in me all my days, that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it.”
Oscar Levant once said, “Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember.” It seems the great power of any moment in time comes as it is remembered. The memory may be painful or pleasant, but, the intensity and meaning of the experience can grow as we remember it. In fact, most experiences in life fully mature as they are recalled. Greater meaning is assigned, value grows, and significance deepens. For that reason, exercising our memories wisely is essential to the health of our souls. We must therefore tell our souls to look back, to remember. Scripture is full of God telling his people to remember and people telling themselves not to forget.
David told his soul to “forget not” God’s benefits (Psalm 103). Asaph said: I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart; And my spirit ponders (Psalm 77:6).
Just like David, we must tell our souls to remember the benefits of our God. And like Asaph, we must remember, meditate, and ponder. There is great reason for such admonishments in scripture.
Wise remembering protects us from worry, guides us to useful meditation and brings balance to our souls.
Here’s a fresh grounded thought for a brand new, fresh grounded year.
Remember the goodness of God.
Meditate upon profitable truth and ponder the meaning of those memories.
Remembering allows your experiences to grant you far more than a momentary pleasure or pain. Remembering grants you an opportunity to receive continually.
As C.S. Lewis so eloquently said; “You cannot study pleasure in the moment of the nuptial embrace, nor repentance while repenting, nor analyze the nature of humor while roaring with laughter.”
So, my friend, look back and remember.
Well, that’s what’s been percolating in me lately.
How about you? How has God been good to you? Leave a comment here.