CS Lewis on suffering from your suffering


Read this helpful quote from my Aug. 1 daily reading from CS Lewis (from his Grief Observed):

Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer.

I didn’t write the whole quote down but he said something like, the problem with lying awake at night with a toothache is that you are thinking about the fact that you are lying awake all night with a toothache.

Isn’t this so true. We suffer not only from the present pain but also from our inability to distract or think thoughts other than reminding ourselves that we are in present pain.

Is it possible to forget the present pain (or depression, anxiety, etc.)? No. I don’t think so. Nor should we seek to forget altogether. And yet, we can find bits of respite where the pain moves from the front of our consciousness to the back. It is at those times we find rest. Some seem more capable to move the pain to the back burner. And this can be healthy, as long as it doesn’t lead to denial.

2 Comments

Filed under Depression, Despair, Great Quotes, suffering

2 responses to “CS Lewis on suffering from your suffering

  1. Amy

    See, I struggle with the ‘finding respite’ part. Being the anxious person I am, I keep what bothers me right in front of my face. It’s a ridiculous, nagging cycle in which you have to unlearn how to think. Very strange.

  2. Lynn

    How do you draw the line re: “moving the pain to the back-burner” vs “denial”?

    My only coping mechanism is to avoid thinking altogether. It helps me for a bit, but when I’m forced to come face-to-face with my grief and pain, I crumble.

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