Monday, December 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

For a while he went on cautiously, but he was haunted by a picture in his mind of a place where the path would break off short when it was too dark for him to see, and he would step on air. This fear made him halt more and more frequently to examine his ground: and when he went on it was each time more slowly: till at last he came to a standstill. There seemed to be nothing for it but to rest where he was. The night was warm, but he was both hungry and thirsty. And he sat down. It was quite dark now.

Then I dreamed that once more a Man came to him in the darkness and said, 'You must pass the night where you are, but I have brought you a loaf and if you crawl along the ledge ten paces more you will find that a little fall of water comes down the cliff.'

'Sir,' said John. 'I do not know your name and I cannot see your face, but I thank you. Will you not sit down and eat, yourself?'

'I am full and not hungry,' said the Man. 'And I will pass on. But one word before I go. You cannot have it both ways.'

'What do you mean, sir?'

'Your life has been saved all this day by crying out to something which you call by many names, and you have said to yourself that you used metaphors.'

'Was I wrong, sir?'

'Perhaps not. But you must play fair. If its help is not a metaphor, neither are its commands. If it can answer when you call, then it can speak without your asking. If you can go to it, it can come to you.'

'I think I see, sir. You mean that I am not my own man: in some sense I have a Landlord after all?'

"Even so. But what is it that dismays you? You heard from Wisdom how the rules were yours and not yours. Did you not mean to keep them? And if so, can it scare you to know that there is one who will make you able to keep them?'

'Well,' said John, 'I suppose you have found me out. Perhaps I did not fully mean to keep them -- not all -- or not all the time. And yet, in a way, I think I did. It is like a thorn in your finger, sir. You know when you set about taking it out yourself -- you mean to get it out -- you know it will hurt -- and it does hurt -- but somehow it is not very serious business -- well, I suppose, because you feel that you always could stop if it was very bad. Not that you intend to stop. But it is a very different thing to hold your hand out to a surgeon to be hurt as much as he thinks fit. And at his speed.'

The Man laughed. 'I see you understand me very well,' He said, 'but the great thing is to get the thorn out.' And then He went away.

C. S. Lewis
The Pilgrim's Regress

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