Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in.
Aim at earth and you will get neither.
It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters.
Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health your main object, you start becoming a crank, and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more: food games fun work open air. In the same way, we shall never save civilization as long as civilization is our main object. We must learn to want something else even more.
Most of us find it very difficult to want heaven at all except in so far as heaven means meeting again our friends who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained.
Our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world.
Another reason is that, when the real longing for heaven is present in us, we do not recognize it.
Most people, if they have really learned to look into their own hearts, know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.
The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learned career can really satisfy. I am not now speaking of what would ordinarily be called unsuccessful marriages or holidays or learned careers: I am speaking of the best possible ones.
There was something we grasped at in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality.
I think everyone knows what I mean.
The wife may be a good wife. And the hotels and scenery may have been excellent. And chemistry may be a very interesting job.
But something we grasped at just evades us.
There are two wrong ways of dealing with this, and one right one.
The fool’s way:
He puts the blame on the things themselves. He goes on all his life thinking that, had only he had tried another woman, or went for a more expensive holiday, or whatever it is, then this time he really would catch The Mysterious Something we are all after.
Most of the bored discontented rich people in the world are of this type; they spends their whole lives trotting from woman to woman (through the divorce courts), from holiday to holiday, from continent to continent, from hobby to hobby; always thinking that the latest is the Real Thing at last, and always disappointed.
The way of the disillusioned sensible man:
He soon decides that the whole thing is moonshine. Of course he says, one feels like that when one is young, but by the time you get to my age, you’ve given up chasing the rainbows end: and so he settles down and learns not to expect too much, and repress the part of himself that used, as he says, to “cry for the moon”.
This is, of course, a much better way than the first, and makes a man much happier, and less of a nuisance to society. It tends to make him a prig: he tends to be rather superior toward what he calls adolescents, but on the whole, he rubs along fairly comfortably: it would be the best line we could take if one did not live forever.
supposing infinite happiness really is there, waiting for us?
Supposing one really can reach the rainbows end?
In that case, it would be a pity to find out, a moment after death, that by our supposed common sense, we had stifled in ourselves the faculty of enjoying it.
The Christian way:
the Christian says: Creatures are not born with desires, unless satisfaction for those desires exists.
A baby feels hunger. Well, there is such a thing as food.
A duckling wants to swim, well, there is such a thing as water.
Men feel sexual desire. Well, there is such a thing as sex.
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this 🌎 can satify, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another 🌎.
If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.
If that is so, I must take care on the one hand never to despise or be unthankful for these earthly blessings; and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy.
CS Lewis Mere Christianity