Thursday, January 11, 2007

Making yourself dispensible

I'm listening this week to an audiotape of C. S. Lewis reading his book The Four Loves. It's the only commercially available recording of him reading his own work, btw. I've been enjoying both his rich, plummy accent, on top of the pithy insights he delivers on Affection, Friendship, Eros, and Charity. And I in fact expected these pleasures, when with relish I popped the first cassette in the player during my commute.

What I didn't expect was to be pinked with the poignard of regret over family troubles from the past. In the first chapter, Lewis discusses how Affection can become selfish and deaf to The Other. Not being made in Person A's image, Person B may well resent unwanted, infantilizing shows (and demands) of affection and devotion. The resulting withdrawal and possible rift is bitterly resented by A, who concludes that B is unloving. B can scarcely answer, of course, which only deepens the resentment.

This isn't a diary blog, so I'll just say that I spent a lot of years being B, and unfortunately do not always catch myself when I lapse into the role of A. Are you familiar with the experience, when some inchoate emotion of yours snaps into focus, when someone else describes it better and more clearly than you could? Hearing those passages in that fifty-year-old recording was one of those.

*sigh*...Thanks Clive, I guess.

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