from The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything but heaven.
You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that.
Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw – but at the first words, a gulf yawns between you, and you realize that this landscape means something totally different to him.
Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling of that something which you were born desiring?
You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been hints of it.
Yet you know that should these echoes turn into the true sound, you would know it at once. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say, "here at last is the thing I was made for."
We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we were born desiring and will die desiring.
Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to your Creator; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you.
Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the Divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions.
God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love.
Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it.
The world is like a picture with a golden background, and we the figures in that picture. Until you step off the plane of the picture into the large dimensions of death, you cannot see the gold. But we have reminders of it.
And why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently?
Our hint on this earth can be found in our community, a society in which we each have something to tell the others. Our earthly art and philosophy are but clumsy imitations for the true ends for which the individual was created.
God created: He caused things to be other than Himself that, being distinct, they might learn to love Him, and achieve union instead of mere sameness.
This union is Heaven, eternally engaged in giving away everything we are, in poetry, music, art, literature, to our Creator and His other Creations. For in self-giving, if anywhere, we touch a rhythm not only of all creation, but of all being.