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The odd thing was that before God closed in on me, I was in fact offered what now appears a moment of wholly free choice. In a sense. I was going up Headington Hill on the top of a bus. Without words (I think) almost without images, a fact about myself was somehow presented to me. I became aware that I was holding something at bay, or shutting something out. Or, if you like, that I was wearing some stiff clothing, like corsets, or even a suit of armour, as if I were a lobster. I felt myself being, there and then, given a free choice. I could open the door or keep it shut; I could unbuckle the armour or keep it on. Neither choice was presented as a duty; no threat or promise was attached to either, though I knew that to open the door or to take off the corslet meant the incalculable. The choice appeared to be momentous but it was also strangely unemotional. I was moved by no desires or fears. In a sense I was not moved by anything. I chose to open, unbuckle, to loosen the rein. I say, ‘I chose’, yet it did not really seem possible to do the opposite.

From Surprised by Joy
Compiled in Preparing for Easter

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. Copyright © 1955 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Preparing for Easter: Fifty Devotional Readings from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2017 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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