I had a random thought enter my head, this morning. And, as all my thoughts do, it looped its way around a strand of thoughts I’ve previously concocted.
Walk with me as we follow this trail of “how God communicates with Kelsea.”
I was at Wes’s house the other night and we were watching some show about the Houston Texan’s training camp. Being wildly desperate to find any connection to anything during this program, I paid close attention to the wives and girlfriends of the players, the fans and the families. I noted the Coach’s dimple in his chin and wondered how much money each of the players being shown was being paid. Luckily for me—the camera spent about 10 seconds on a rookie, whose name I cannot remember, who was unloading his suitcase in the room he would be staying in during camp. Instead of showing his “lucky” Underarmour shirt or a photo of his child/girlfriend, like they had of the other rookies, the camera focused on this young man’s book collection—which happened to feature nothing but CS Lewis titles.
I, obviously, shrieked and slapped Wes. “The Screwtape Letters!” I don’t remember him responding.
Shortly after, the show ended. The night ended. Life went on.
This morning—I am experiencing an incredibly overwhelming sense of gratitude. I have received good news from my friend, in regards to some plans we have for the future. I am texting my mother who, randomly, expresses pride in myself and my accomplishments, and Wes throws out a cute text or two that transform my muted smile into a toothy grin.
So… what do I do when I’m feeling grateful? I pray… silently. Throw God a quick “preesh!” But I also search for words to effectively convey how I feel. And where do I search for these words? In the one author who seems to always know how to say what I have always thought but never been able to convey: CS Lewis.
So I’m googling CS Lewis quotes and my mind recalls the moment from the previous evening. I decide to narrow my search to “The Screwtape Letters” which is a book he wrote from the perspective of a demon in Hell who is writing letters to his fellow-demon-nephew to help train him to become a better demon. The book refers to God as “The Enemy,” if that helps give you any perspective.
I don’t necessarily think this particular work by Lewis will be overflowing with quotes to describe how joyed and blessed and humbled I currently feel—but I am compelled to revisit it. I come across a quote that I had never noted before—even from reading the book. Perhaps because it didn’t mean much to me when I read it before. Perhaps because I read it too quickly. For whatever reason, this particular excerpt is an unavoidable light, this morning.
“A woman means by Unselfishness chiefly taking trouble for others; a man means not giving trouble to others… thus, while the woman thinks of doing good offices and the man of respecting other people’s rights, each sex, without any obvious unreason, can and does regard the other as radically selfish.”
My stomach does that kind of drop it does when someone tells you about yourself. “The convicted churn,” I call it. That pit you get when you’re sitting in church on a Sunday and the preacher decides to go on a rant about how ‘people’ need to stop going out and getting drunk all weekend, or stop gossiping, or stop having sex before marriage. He’s talking about you. This is specifically for you. So tailored for you that your physical body reacts to it. That’s the feeling I get after reading this quote.
I begin to think about every time I’ve ever, disgustingly, pinned the label “selfish” on another. How pretentiously I’ve played the victim of selfishness. How angry and entitled I’ve gotten at these occurrences. And how self-righteous I’ve felt at being The Most Unselfish In All the Land. Every time he didn’t think to invite me out with his friends. Every time she pitched a fit because we weren’t doing things HER way. When my father would “vent” to me. When my mother would be unsatisfied with my very best.
Suffice it to say, my rainbows-and-lollipops mood of gratitude and thanksgiving has faded, now, and I just feel unreasonable. Subsequently, I feel MORE selfish, (that wretched word), for not seeing it from another’s perspective. For deciding my definition of “unselfish” was absolute. For being critical of people behaving the way they were wired to behave. The way God created them.
My gratitude melts into conviction which boils into a sort of drive to be a better person. A better girlfriend. A better sister. A better daughter. A better friend. To shed any sense of pride I get in feeling thankful or humble or unselfish… and instead to consider that in those moments, to another, I could be appearing the exact opposite.
I say another silent prayer—and ask God if He would’ve led me to this conclusion without having met Wes, and going to his house that night, and watching that stupid show, and seeing The Screwtape Letters. And I thank him for having a plan and always knowing how to get my attention.
Mega humbly yours,