It is a book of letters written by a senior demon, Screwtape, to his young demon nephew, Wormwood. The letters are part of a correspondence for the sole purpose of advising Wormwood on his first mission alone: to take the soul of a new Christian, a young man falling in love with a woman, and unaware of the presence of Wormwood. We learn through these letters, pieces of this young mans life, and oftentimes are left to decide what is truth, and what are lies. Who can trust a demon?
The chapters are short, and each based on a new temptation: a new way to get into the mind of the Christian without him suspecting a thing. You may forget while reading it, like I do, that it is a work of fiction. It really is a believable handbook of the devil, and we get to take a peak as to how they work against all that is good in the world. C.S. Lewis, it is said, had to recover from writing this book. And when asked if he would be writing a sequel, he flatly refused because he did not enjoy the dark places he had to dwell on, to write this great work. It is not difficult to understand why.
My favorite chapters change every time I read it, because every time I read it, one chapter that didn’t mean as much to me before, suddenly becomes exactly what I needed to hear. But, there are three chapters that remain favorites with every read: Chapter 14 on humility, Chapter 21 on time and patience, and Chapter 25 on the future (and how to keep people wrapped up in it). This excerpt is from Chapter 21. Remember that the “patient”, is the young man Wormwood is working on:
“Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. The more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured and, as a result, ill-tempered. Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him. It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend’s talkative wife (turning up when he looked forward to a tête-à-tête with the friend), that throw him out of gear…They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours…”
What is your favorite part? Are you obsessed with this book, too? If you haven’t read it, would you ever read it?
Rachel and I have been friend’s since we were little babies.
we moved past our third and fourth grade prejudices, we remained friends
ever since! And last weekend, she left all the animals in
Texas (she’s a veterinarian…in Texas)
first row: Eastern Market, indoors and the Capitol dome
second row: my new favorite material object, and Union Station
third row: West side of the Capitol (where inaugurations happen), and my
previous place of employment: the Russell Building
fourth row: Library of Congress and Library of Congress
fifth and sixth row: U.S. Botanic GardenAnd that’s our story. She flew in late Friday night, we ate homemade pop tarts
Women’s Gymnastics recap on the couch.
Well played, TSA: You saved lives last night.
Aside from that, we had such a fun time with our friend in town.
I love any excuse to play tourist in D.C., but it
is even better with home-grown friends.
Come back any time, Rach!
( we’re card-carrying members of the Library of Congress.
What are you doing with your life?)
remembering the things I used to love.Not things like my American
Girl doll, or the historical Dear America diary series, but the more
recent things: photography, ballet, writing short stories, writing
It’s not that I don’t love them any more, but certain phases of life left certain
favorites in the dust. When I moved to
DC, I got wrapped up in my job, and living in a new city, and
exploring my new loves: like walking for miles on end, shopping at
Trader Joe’s and open markets, and blogging.
Then I got married and I
didn’t care about anything other than learning to live with my new
But we have slowly eased into a routine that,
with Eric working more on film/photography,
makes time for the things we love.
To be honest, part of the reason I give up on things is because
sometimes I can be an “all or nothing” type of person.
I gave up ballet, after eleven years, because I
wasn’t going to dance professionally, and the classes offered
at my college were not challenging enough. Also, I kind of
wondered what the point of dancing
is, if you can’t dedicate your life to it.
Thankfully, I have been proven wrong in that. Very wrong.
In growing older, I am finding that my “all or nothing” tendencies
are slowly becoming less dominant–out of sheer pragmatism,
probably–and life is more enjoyable when I don’t put unnecessary
pressure on myself. Life is busy, and priorities are made,
and there is not time to become a prima ballerina,
or a short-story-writing machine.
But there is time for those things every once in
a while, and for the first time in my life,
I am okay with that.
These are pictures that my amazingly talented husband took recently.
Have I mentioned we love the Mall at night?