TO PHOEBE HESKETH: On how sorrow seems to isolate; and on how hard it is to forgive. Lewis reveals that Joy’s physician had failed to diagnose her cancer at a stage when it could have been treated successfully.
14 June 1960
The most mischievous—and painful—by-product of any sorrow is the illusion that it isolates one, that one is kicked out alone for this from an otherwise cheerful, bustling, ‘normal’ world. How much better to realise that one is just doing one’s turn in the line like all the rest of the ragged and tired human regiment! Yours is a very terrible bit of it. But I’d sooner be you...than the doctor (one of the closest friends) who could and should have diagnosed Joy’s trouble when she went to him about the symptoms years ago before we were married. The real trouble about the duty of forgiveness is that you do it with all your might on Monday and then find on Wednesday that it hasn’t stayed put and all has to be done over again.
Yes, we will pray for one another.
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.