After grieving the death of his wife, C.S. Lewis once said as he looked at her pictures,
A really good photograph might become in the end a snare, a horror, and an obstacle
What the writer meant was that what he really longed for was the real thing, not a copy of something. There is no life, no seminal moment in a copy, only a facsimile of what was. Yet many spend their lives trying to recapture what was once real to them . . . that old “campy” house we could never return to . . . that one flawless vacation we could never recapture . . the love that stole our hearts. That perfect moment where we felt most alive. We try to capture, recreate, and even sometimes settle for cheap substitutes of the real.
It is interesting how even modern technology strives for a virtual world that simulates real life. The latest Play-station and Xbox games tout the “realism” of battle scenes, and “life-like” graphics that make you feel like you are really there. Is it possible that all of these pursuits speak of an ache in all of us for the “real”?
The culture around us tries to give us the real, in a stamped-out, mass-produced fashion that attempts to copy moments. They advertise things like, “If you buy this product, it will change your life”, “Watch this movie – it will blow you away”, “Drive this car and attract beautiful people”. But these are as far from being real as possible. They are poor copies that in the end leave us empty and longing. If we are ever to attain the authentic, we must be willing to let go of the copy.
God is the “copy smasher”
God helps us recover the authentic. He himself smashes our stuff – our ideas and assumptions about Himself . . . Our endless pursuit of glittering, empty things. When we try to pin God down with cheap cultural knock offs that have His label on it, He moves to smash that idea. When we pursue copies of “real” things, God in His love demolishes them. Anything we cling to that is unreal God leaves in ruins until all that is left is the real. It is safe to say that when God shows up, things get smashed.
Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence? Lewis, C. S