Blue Heron in flight

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Frightened sheep

I know I said I wouldn't dwell on the damned virus but it is creating such havoc in so many of our lives that I ask you to please permit me to share something that a friend texted me from a website called the Gospel Coalition. It is Sunday morning after all and it is worth reading. A healthy dose of needed perspective.

It is a passage from the early 20th century Christian scribe C.S. Lewis, who was a member of the Oxford group the inklings with J.R.R. Tolkien. I have always been an admirer of Lewis. You must may substitute virus for bomb of course, either way the essay rings true.

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
            “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) 


Anonymous said...

Good words. It has been confirmed that CV19 has infected a North County fireman, so the virus is here in our little community now. I am reading that the best things to do is to strictly isolate as soon as possible to prevent the spread. I will be doing that, in the flesh only. I'd hate to become ill, and I'd hate to be the person who brought illness to others because of my "bravery" or such. Best to us all...~ Diane O

Blue Heron said...

We are going whale watching today. I hear that the cetaceans are all clear.

Ken Seals said...

"I want to go to heaven, I just don't want to go tonight"