“It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. ‘Look out!’ we cry, ‘it’s alive’. And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back—I would have done so myself if I could—and proceed no further with Christianity. An ‘impersonal God’—well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads—better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap—best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband—that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (‘Man’s search for God!’) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us?”
– C. S. Lewis ‘ON PRAYER’
Nobody remembers anything!
Mostly people know there’s something lost as they get older but quite soon this becomes only a glib visceral echo from an unfamiliar land. But I think it’s because mostly it dies off quite early and they’re not paying much attention anyway, don’t remember much of what came before.
So it’s easy to forget, sane even, given what must come next. And it’s fair to say to anyone who still feels the blood on their veins quicken at silly things like music and love, and can’t believe it’ll ever grow luke warm like duty, that it’s going to happen and they won’t really care because they won’t know any more and you can’t miss what you can’t ‘feel’ ever mattered.
But what if you don’t forget so easy, what if you WERE paying attention, what if you saw through the eyes of another country enough to know what was coming: that beauty recedes and love’s edge dulls, and need becomes want becomes distraction (if durable)… And this is what was coming; and now has come, and all you can do is try to hold the foam and salt of a receding tide. It’s not going to stop the thing from being lost but nor can one simply let it go, not without a submission to the inevitable that STILL feels ignoble. It’s not like we invent our nature, anyway.