Till We Have Faces

In the interest of literature and discussion, my family has started a book club of sorts. Until a better name is agreed upon, my father has dubbed it the Sorensen Literary Society.

Anyhoo… the first book we are undertaking is C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces. I have never read any of his works other than some of the books in the Narnia series, so I was interested in this choice. I am about halfway through, and am enjoying it immensely. It’s a “Myth Retold,” as the title indicates, which is probably why the story seems so familiar to me even though I’ve never read it before.

This book revolves around one woman and her complaint against the gods – what ensuses are the details of her life, drawn out so the reader can be involved, be a judge. I think I tend to most enjoy those things to which I relate, and one of the things that particularly speaks to me is the accuracy of some of the insights and emotions.

“The gods never send us [an] invitation to delight so readily or so strongly as when they are preparing us some new agony. We are their bubbles; they blow us big before they prick us.” I oftentimes feel like I’m God’s puppet, there to do with as he pleases. And really, I can’t complain – because he’s God and can do what he wants, right? I don’t know that I experience so much of the “invitations to delight,” but rather the pricking of the bubble that is me.

Sometimes I get so bogged down in my sadness, in the utter pointlesness of this life and my own existence. And if I don’t have any hope in the character of God, what am I living for? “I was like water put into a bottle and left in a cellar: utterly motionless, never to be drunk, poured out, spilled or shaken. The days were endless. The very shadows seemed nailed to the ground as if the sun no longer moved… [I was] less weary of body than unable to find a reason for going a step further in any direction or for doing anything at all…”

Sometimes I feel, if I just keep busy, occupied, productive, I’ll make something of myself and have something to show for it. If I keep from getting to close to anything or anyone, I won’t risk getting hurt. “The nearest thing we have to a defence against [the gods] (but there is no real defence) is to be very wide awake and sober and hard at work, to hear no music, never to look at earth or sky, and (above all) to love no one.”

I suppose if I were well-versed in mythology – and C. S. Lewis, for that matter – I might know the end of the story already. But alas, I do not, and am intrigued at it’s unraveling.