A Self-Proclaimed Defect
I think it surprises people who begin to read C. S. Lewis (his letters, for example), that he didn’t like children. You’d think that the guy who wrote Narnia would just be a lover of children. But he was not fond of them. He wasn’t inclined to walk down the street and want to get down on the level of every child. The interesting thing is that he regarded this as a significant defect in his own constitution.
He thought I’m not really fond of children. I don’t have a natural affinity for them and I think there’s something wrong with me because of that. I think that’s a right response. It’s why Jesus says to us “If you receive a child in my name you receive me.” If you want more Jesus, you have to receive children.
And Lewis knew that him having a hard time receiving children was a defect—something that he sought to overcome.
Behind the Pen
I think he was actually more comfortable writing letters to people. I think a lot of people have had the impression of Lewis that he would be a really enjoyable conversation partner—that they would love to have met him. He had deep lifelong kinds of friendships, but I suspect that in terms of his social life, he would be very awkward to sit down with in person.
For example, let’s say you were to get your choice of one person with whom to share a meal. If I went in blind to a meal with C. S. Lewis, I think it’d probably be very awkward unless we could quickly get onto a subject that both of us loved where the personal thing is almost left behind, and we begin to have what he called friendship—which is when both of us have a sort of ‘you too?’ moment.
Then we’d be off and running. But if that didn’t happen, I suspect it would be very awkward. I think people’s perception on account of Lewis’s writing style would be that you could’ve developed a kind of instant rapport with him in person, but I doubt that would have been the case.
- You’re Not Just a Sinner (Joe Rigney)
- The Fundamental Decision We All Must Face (Joe Rigney)
- What C. S. Lewis Believed about Hell (Joe Rigney)