Sometimes something as mundane and silly as putting on the screensaver does something to you, something radical. They are only photographs being slowly expanded across my screen, but somehow that balletic grace shines through. I imagine what sort of wonder they would have elicited just a century before, and here I am, blasé enough about them to display them on my screen when I’m not looking at them. To think that Marlowe’s Faust, when given a choice of limitless power, chose, as his first task, to fly high above the earth just to check the accuracy of the Renaissance maps, and here we are zooming in on our planet every few seconds each time we want to go to the next place we’re meeting a friend in, without having to sign our souls over to the devil first. It’s a wonder we still have the capacity for wonder at the beautiful thing, and it’s a wonder that I can, after so long, feel it again.
They tell me, Lord that when I seem
To be in speech with you,
Since but one voice is heard, it’s all a dream,
One talker aping two.
Sometimes it is, yet not as they
Conceive it. Rather, I
Seek in myself the things I hoped to say,
But lo! my wells are dry.
Then, seeing me empty, you forsake
The listener’s role and through
My dumb lips breathe and into utterance wake
The thoughts I never knew.
And thus you neither need reply
Nor can; thus, while we seem
Two talkers, thou art One forever, and I
No dreamer, but thy dream.
– Anonymous, quoted by C. S. Lewis in Prayer: Letters to Malcolm
“On the one hand, the man who does not regard God as other than himself cannot be said to have a religion at all. On the other hand, if I think God other than myself in the same way in which my fellow-men, and objects in general, are other than myself, I am beginning to make Him an idol. I am daring to treat His existence as somehow parallel to my own. But He is the ground of our being. He is always both within us and over against us. Our reality is as much from His reality as He, moment by moment, projects into us. The deeper the level within ourselves from which our prayer, or any other act, wells up, the more it is His, but not at all the less ours. Rather, most ours when most His. Arnold speaks of us as ‘enisled’ from one another in the ‘sea of life’. But we can’t be similarly ‘en-isled’ from God. To be discontinuous from God as I am discontinuous from you would be annihilation.” – C. S. Lewis, Prayer: Letters to Malcolm.