Monday, April 10, 2017

The CS Lewis Kind

 Mom and I spent an afternoon with Clive Staples Lewis, aka Jack Lewis, or better still, CS Lewis.

Our time seemed like it was spent with the author--for a genuine, accomplished actor or actress whether he is playing an English academic, or she is playing a teapot in Beauty and the Beast, will always convince the audience that he or she is that character.

By the end of the play Shadowlands, I desired to become a better human. CS Lewis inspired me to do so by his own ability to grow, love, and change. I was most inspired by a short phrase coined by Lewis for which I cannot remember exactly, so it goes mostly like this: kindness is the desire to see others happy. 

Yet, as I ponder this idea of kindness, it rarely is, if ever, a passive desire. If kindness is the desire to see others happy, then kindness requires an effort to evoke happiness in others.

Awareness of excellence is finding and recognizing the implementation of various ideals or in this specific case, recognizing CS Lewis' ideal of kindness through active kindness. My first example I discovered in a phone conversation with my own daughter while she prepared her husband's birthday presents.

Never having seen a Broadway play, he's wanted to see Lion King for a long time. When my daughter discovered the play coming to her city, she bought tickets and kept it secret until the designated day. She thought of his happiness and actively acted to bring it about.

Towards the end of our conversation, she said, "Hold on, I'm taping up a wall."

"What for?" I asked.

"So, he can't see his presents until Saturday."

I couldn't imagine the wall, so I asked her to send a photo.

This, I thought, is kindness. The CS Lewis kind of kindness: the desire to see others happy.

He loved The Lion King, and can't wait to see another musical. My daughter's kindness brought happiness.

Sigh. It was a lot of work.

Surely, as we age, it doesn't require this much planning and decorating. I take consolation that Tony's happiness no longer requires balloons. The greater kindness and subsequent happiness could be conjured through smaller means. A chocolate on his pillow, a genuine effort to hang up my clothes, to actually prepare dinner.

My inspiration has come through the words of renowned author CS Lewis and the actions of just my daughter; there is no greater kindness than inspiring others through eloquent thoughts and just planning a birthday---and a million other little ways.