Pain, Loss, Evil -- these were the things that Clives Staples Lewis struggled with in his early years. Lewis, one of the most profound and prolific writers of modern times tells of his journey away from the Christian faith to a valley of unbelief, then back up the mountain where he meets God--whom he calls Joy with a capital "J". Lewis starts by recounting his early childhood fantasies and experience, which he notes are a manifestation of Joy. To him, these memories would become goal of his existence to recapture the feelings and security that they offered.
Lewis recalls that his first religious experience in his life was he death of his mother. After reflecting on this experience, Lewis says, "With my mother's death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable, disappeared from my life. There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of Joy; but no more of the old security. It was sea and island now the great continent had sunk like Atlantis." (The First Years) What Lewis had known as solidarity and peace became an island, puny memory of existence in an ocean of life. This imagery reflects the deep disappointment and the longing to return to that island that seemed so large in his early life. But it seems that Lewis was lost at sea and had no idea how to find his way back, so with that, he attempts to find the way on his own with no charts, maps, or a compass to guide him.
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