C.S. Lewis
Associated Press
C.S. Lewis

How we need each other’s talents

Faith & Inspiration

We read in Scripture that God has made the church to be like a human body. We need to take that seriously because it is truer than we thought. In a physical body the toes are terrible at picking up a pen and endorsing a check. Have you ever tried it? The ears are hopeless at seeing, and the eyes, hopeless at hearing. The tongue boasts of great things, but you may have noticed that it doesn’t think very well.

The popular mainstreaming of computers in the 1980s introduced a whole new chasm of talent that separated me from most people. If Al Gore had not invented the internet, I suppose I would have learned of my mental deficiency in some other sideways fashion. But it was mildly devastating. I’m just glad I graduated from college before the laptop replaced the legal pad in the classroom.

But if you’re like me, here is a find that should cheer us up: C.S. Lewis—that man you have perhaps envied for being so gifted—was not talented in manual things. Here is his own lament about his deficiency, a recollection from childhood in Surprised by Joy:

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“I had definitely formed the opinion that the universe was, in the main, a rather regrettable institution. … Ridiculous as it may sound, I believe that the clumsiness of my hands was at the root of the matter. How could this be? Not, certainly, that a child says, ‘I can’t cut a straight line with a pair of scissors, therefor the universe is evil.’ Childhood has no such power of generalization and is not (to do it justice) so silly. Nor did my clumsiness produce what is ordinarily called an Inferiority Complex. I was not comparing myself with other boys; my defeats occurred in solitude. What they really bred in me was a deep (and, of course, inarticulate) sense of resistance or opposition on the part of inanimate things. Even that makes it too abstract and adult. Perhaps I had better call it a settled expectation that everything would do what you did not want it to do. Whatever you wanted to remain straight, would bend; whatever you tried to bend would fly back to the straight; all knots which you wished to be firm would come untied; all knots you wanted to untie would remain firm.”

So you see that C.S. Lewis could not afford to quit his day job. He had to write because he was absolutely no use when it came to fixing a furnace. He needed you for that.

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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