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The Chronicles of Narnia is one of the most enduring works of children’s literature. In the fantasy world of Narnia, the author C.S. Lewis explored themes such as bravery, morality, and faith. For the past 60 years, generations of children and parents have drawn from its deep well of adventure and wonderment.
What kind of man could produce a world so vivid, a story so inspiring? Let’s find out.
A Childhood Full of Magic
C.S. Lewis was born in November 29, 1898, in Belfast, Ireland as Clive Staples Lewis. Clive was an imaginative child. When he was just a little boy, his dog, Jacksie, was killed by a car. From then on, Clive wanted to be called “Jacksie”, after his pet. He was known as Jack among his friends and family for the rest of his life.
Young Clive spent his younger years in innocent bliss. He basked in his father’s extensive library, soaking in mythology and poetry. He explored imaginary worlds with his brother Warnie. He created and illustrated his own stories.
When he was nine, his mother died. As with most young men of his social stature, young Clive was sent to a boarding school in Watford, Hertfordshire.
Moments of Strife
After Wynyard (the boarding school in Watford) was shut down, CS Lewis entered a time of constant movement. He attended Campbell College in Belfast, got sick, and had to leave. He was sent to Cherbourg House to recuperate, then he enrolled at Malvern College. During this time, the once optimistic and religious Clive turned his back on religion, and explored darker themes like occultism.
Things looked up for him when he got an acceptance letter from University College, Oxford. During his stay in the university, he met one of his life’s biggest inspirations, the poet W.B. Yeats. It gave him much joy and delight, and allowed him to explore and be proud of his connections to Ireland.
His stay in Oxford was just shaping up to be a wonderful one, until it was abruptly cut short. Clive had to be sent to France because of the war.
During his time as a Second Lieutenant in the British Army, he got injured and witnessed the death of two of his colleagues. This plunged him into a dark bout of depression. After recovery, he was assigned to England, and was eventually relieved of his duty in 1918.
Light and Healing
During his service and subsequent deployment, Lewis found a close friend in Edward “Paddy” Moore. The two promised to take care of the other’s family, should one of them die during the war. Paddy was killed in a misfire in Somme Valley, France.
He fulfilled his promise by treating care of Paddy’s mother like his own, until the day of her death in 1951. The two enjoyed a close relationship, of which Lewis remarked: “she was generous, and taught me to be generous too.”
After the war, Lewis returned to his studies almost immediately. It has been a time of soul searching and healing for Lewis. In Oxford in 1926, he met JRR Tolkien, a Catholic. Talks and arguments with Tolkien helped Lewis reconsider his stance on religion, and eventually converted back to theism in 1929. Tolkien was disappointed when in 1939, Lewis decided to join the Church of England.
A Legacy of Faith
C.S. Lewis is known for his unshakeable faith. He wrote a lot of books that bore testament to the strength of his faith: Mere Christianity, The Problem of Faith, and Miracles being some of the most powerful. His most well-known work, the Chronicles of Narnia, is filled with Christian themes and suppositional aspects.
His life was a wonderful whirlwind of ups and downs. From the death of his mother to the constant moving, his entire life was a long, winding journey. There were parts when he searched desperately for the light, and found none. He looked for hope, but was instead met with loss. But he had the courage to continue.
Eventually he found his way back to faith. Through lifelong friends, a surrogate family, and the profession he loved, he was able to come back to where he started: a place of positivity and wonderment. In turn, he wrote books that helped people find courage in themselves as well.
Whatever you might believe in right now, there is no doubt that C.S. Lewis will inspire you to keep holding on to your faith, whatever it might be. It might be faith in God, in yourself, in a better tomorrow, or in humanity. His stories and his words continue to illuminate the way for every person who needs light and courage to find their way back to the magical realm of believing.
Here are some C.S. Lewis quotes that will inspire you to have the courage to keep on believing:
C.S. Lewis Quotes
“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” – C. S. Lewis
“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” – C. S. Lewis
“We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” – C. S. Lewis
“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.” – C. S. Lewis
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” – C. S. Lewis
“Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unthinkable horror.” – C. S. Lewis
“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.” – C. S. Lewis
“The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.” – C. S. Lewis
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” – C. S. Lewis
“I sometimes wonder if all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.” – C. S. Lewis
“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” – C. S. Lewis
“A pleasure is not full grown until it is remembered.” – C. S. Lewis
“It’s so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one.” – C. S. Lewis
“No man knows how bad he is ‘till he has tried very hard to be good.” – C. S. Lewis
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different?” – C. S. Lewis
“If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.” – C. S. Lewis
“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” – C. S. Lewis
“We are mirrors whose brightness is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.” – C. S. Lewis
“All get what they want; they do not always like it.” – C. S. Lewis
“Reality is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect.” – C. S. Lewis
“Being in love first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.” – C. S. Lewis
“Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth.” – C. S. Lewis
“The sun looks down on nothing half as good as a household laughing together over a meal.” – C. S. Lewis
“Forgiveness does not mean excusing.” – C. S. Lewis
“Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.” – C. S. Lewis
“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” – C. S. Lewis
“Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.” – C. S. Lewis
“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” – C. S. Lewis
“Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.” – C. S. Lewis
“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” – C. S. Lewis
“It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete ‘till it is expressed.” – C. S. Lewis
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C. S. Lewis
“The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.” – C. S. Lewis
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” – C. S. Lewis
“The past is frozen and no longer flows, and the present is all lit up with eternal rays.” – C. S. Lewis
“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” – C. S. Lewis
“In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s, we do not accept them easily enough.” – C. S. Lewis
“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” – C. S. Lewis
“To walk out of his will is to walk into nowhere.” – C. S. Lewis
“Of all the bad men, religious bad men are the worst.” – C. S. Lewis
“One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness.” – C. S. Lewis
“Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” – C. S. Lewis
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” – C. S. Lewis
“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” – C. S. Lewis
“Though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not.” – C. S. Lewis
“I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least.” – C. S. Lewis
“Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.” – C. S. Lewis
“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” – C. S. Lewis
“Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.” – C. S. Lewis
“When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive.” – C. S. Lewis
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C. S. Lewis
“The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.” – C. S. Lewis
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis
“There would be no sense in saying you trusted Jesus if you would not take his advice.” – C. S. Lewis
“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you do, and you will presently come to love him.” – C. S. Lewis
“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” – C. S. Lewis
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” – C. S. Lewis
“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” – C. S. Lewis
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C. S. Lewis
“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” – C. S. Lewis
“History isn’t just the story of bad people doing bad things. It’s quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow, something goes wrong.” – C. S. Lewis
“Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.” – C. S. Lewis
“The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” – C. S. Lewis
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C. S. Lewis
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” – C. S. Lewis
“Writing is like a ‘lust,’ or like ‘scratching when you itch.’ Writing comes as a result of a very strong impulse, and when it does come, I, for one, must get it out.” – C. S. Lewis
“The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather for the devil.” – C. S. Lewis
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” – C. S. Lewis
“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.” – C. S. Lewis
“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” – C. S. Lewis
“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” – C. S. Lewis
“Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” – C. S. Lewis
“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one ‘till you have read an old one in between.”- C. S. Lewis
“Thirty was so strange for me. I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.”- C. S. Lewis
“Humans are amphibians – half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.”- C. S. Lewis