Friday, 23 May 2014

At An Intersection

I found this quote from C.S. Lewis's 'Mere Christianity':

"... what I proudly call 'Myself' becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop."
(I can't remember which edition I read but this quote was on p225 of it.)

I read this book about nine years ago at a time when I had more pressing things on my mind. Unsurprisingly perhaps, I didn't get as much from it as I had hoped but the general idea that there is a form of Christianity that is acceptable to all Christians regardless of their (man-made) religious traditions is one that keeps coming back to me.

I do not remember the context within which this quote was written. At a conference, I once surprised a rather staid professor when I told her that I did not just read books for the content but for the ideas they generate in me. She had dismissed a book that somebody had written because there were factual errors in it. My response was, to the effect, "So what, there were interesting ideas in it nonetheless". Thus, context isn't always important to me.

This quote concerns something about which I think daily: our very existence. I am at a point that intersects with a miriad other "trains of events", it suggests. Alternatively, I could write that as: 'I' am at a point that intersects with a miriad other "trains of events". What is more, I have little or no control over these trains. There are things that impinge upon me without my permission and I have no power over them - I certainly can't get all of them to go away when I want them to.

These trains of events are not necessarily all bad though; they may even work out to our good. However, I tend to resent all forms of external interference forgetting, when they occur, that that may be the case. (I can, on reflection, even think of cases of this from the last week!) In the content of Lewis's book, we can either trust God that these trains of events will have some benefit or we can just soldier on, on our own.