“We are born helpless. As soon as we are fully conscious we discover loneliness. We need others physically, emotionally, intellectually; we need them if we are to know anything, even ourselves.” C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves intro, page 2.
So while in college, I read a lot. I learned how to structure a paper so it makes sense, though I don’t always use it here on the blog, but I mainly read a lot. I can read fast, my reading score was the highest score I got on my ACT’s.
That means, when summer came, I read like a fiend. I read books upon books because I knew that when school started, I wouldn’t even look at a book that was labeled “fun”. I knew it. For Christmas and birthday (it’s in February) I would get Barnes and Nobel Gift Cards and I would spend them on books and then put them aside for the next couple months and forget about them. That could get me in trouble. Books seem to just collect around me and I forget I have a certain book.
One summer, oh I’m guessing the summer of ’09, I picked up C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves. Now, if you are having a hard time placing who C.S. Lewis is or don’t know at all who he is I’ll tell you who he is. You know the “Chronicles of Narnia” movies? One just came out last month…..the third one? First one came out when I was still in high school…..he wrote the novels. Yeah they’re probably his best known novels outside the Christian world.
I loved The Chronicles of Narnia when I was younger. They were the first series I got into when I really started reading. Yes it was before Outlander. WAAAAYYYY before. You think I would read that book at 10? No. I wouldn’t. I would have needed a therapist. They are great reads for young readers.
When I got to college I had some friends that were all like “Oh C.S. Lewis is so good. You need to read more of him.” I was like okay. I can do that. So I got The Four Loves. It’s only a hundred and forty pages long so I thought that it wouldn’t take me long to read since I read so fast. And I was like “I read the Chronicles so therefore they’re the same and I won’t have any trouble.”
I was so wrong.
I knew that Lewis was a very intelligent man. He was a professor. That means he has deep thoughts and a ridiculously large vocab. I forgot that big kid books and littler kid books are different for a bit. I started reading The Four Loves like a kids book. One word.
This book is one of the most complex books that I have read. Actually, it’s one of the most intellectual books I’ve read. I have never had to stop so much and think with a book in my life. Sometimes, I would have to stop for like a half hour after one sentence to fully process what was just read. Even though it’s only like a hundred and forty pages, I have it marked up and highlighted so much and written all over. So much so that none of my other books, regular or school, don’t have this much traffic. It’s a pretty big deal because I mark up books a lot.
This book was written in a way that I had to take a step back from pretty much everything I have known and reevaluate some of my relationships. Are they really what they should be? Am I looking for the kinds of relationships that are what I need and are healthy?
Needless to say, this wasn’t the summer reading I was looking for but I am glad I did read it during the summer, in Medora. Medora is a small town ideally and relationships are typical small town. It was a good reality check. And Lewis is a man I admire so much more and will continue to read for decades to come.