September 28, 2023
Miami Book Fair
October 12, 2023

C. S. Lewis

Photo by Ivan Obolensky

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

The above was written by C. S. Lewis (1898-1963).

I first encountered his writing when I was four years old. I vividly recall listening to a governess reading the Voyage of the Dawn Treader while I sat on the floor. It was the first story I remember.

It is peculiar how only certain memories stand out from all the rest and often with unusual clarity. For me, these are brief instances of no more than a second or two. They seem imbued with a kind of powerful emotion, and certain specific details: like the time of day, the color of the light, and what the weather was doing at the time. Taken together, such memories create a sense of happiness. That particular moment was important. It inspired in me the want to read and to live stories like that one over and over in my mind.

Voyage was the third Lewis wrote in the Chronicles of Narnia. All in all, he wrote seven in the series between 1950 and 1956. I’ve read them all more than once. I was oblivious to their Christian messages until I was much older and read more of his work.

During my senior year of high school, theology was mandatory. One of the several texts I read was Lewis’ Miracles. I was never one to read a great deal of Christian thought, but I found Lewis’ arguments persuasive and with a unique sense of humor.

It was said that he asked his publisher to give away most of his royalties to various charities, since money was coming in by the bucket, only to exclaim that no good deed goes unpunished when he received the tax bill for all the income he had earned.

One my favorite quotes of his: “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.”


  1. Alicia says:

    Hello Ivan,

    Excellent post, as usual, and great quotes from C.S. Lewis. He made an impression on me too, and I loved the Narnia stories when I was young.

    My favorite C.S. Lewis quote is: “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end, but if you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”

    Ironically, I first encountered this quote at a time when I was seriously struggling with my Christian faith, and desiring above all else to find Truth, I left organized religion behind altogether. It was a decision that left me feeling isolated and even frightened at first, but now, I understand Christ’s message more than I ever did as a Christian.

    Maybe good people are trying to do good things and getting it wrong, because, trapped within the limiting eggshells of their comfortable traditions and ideas, they’re not actually dealing with reality? We’ve all been there. Time to break free!

    • Hi Alicia, Thank you for your comment. It is perceptive as usual. Any belief system must be owned by the believer and as Alfred Korzybski pointed out, the map is not the territory. Allowing the two to coincide is not easy and a journey in itself. My Blog, the Leap of Faith, on Kirkegaard takes up the theme of striving for that inner authenticity. Has your baby arrived yet? Cheers, Ivan

      • Alicia says:

        It’s true that the map is not the territory.
        René Magritte’s painting ‘The Treachery of Images’ also comes to mind. Reconciling fact and abstraction can be a difficult process, especially where strongly held beliefs are concerned.

        Yes, my little one arrived on July 20th. He’s absolutely perfect and the love of my life! It’s so thoughtful of you to ask. Needless to say, he takes up most of my time now, and moments to sit quietly and read are few and far between. I look forward to catching up with your blog as time allows. It’s always interesting to hear your thoughts on these deep philosophical topics.

        Take care,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *