When I look out upon the work which I have set before me, the studies, the parenting, the goals and desires which I have ratified either by myself or with God, I perceive a task of infinite value. For in this production, that is, in the realization of these goals and projections, I perceive the realization of myself, a presentation and affirmation of a self that will finally, once and for all, privided a warrant for its existence, be affirmed, and not merely in a desperate bid for self-worth, but in the weight of love which has been a burden to carry, having longed to hear the voice of this love echoed throughout the world.
But in pausing, in acknowledging what can only be called anxiety or fear which necessarily superintends the significance of such a production, I have two courses, both correct.
The first is that of identifying my work as the precious, much fondled, and nurtured idol of my heart and hands. For such anxiety can be nothing less than the fear that I will ultimately prove myself worthless and insignificant, that I will be forgotten, that I will have failed and show yself unjustified in the most radical sense. And in this case, it is only in Christ, and in watching him set such filthy, oily rags aflame and brush away the ashes of such refuse, and in doing so without much ado or rentment but with no more to do than the sweeping of the floors, that I find rest.
The second course, also necessary, is to lift my head from my studies, my works, the radical significance I have endowed myself with (in distinction to those whose work and lives are merely ordinary). In lifting my head, from the endless and unforgiving task, I discovering that every man, every woman endows their work with the same significance. I perceive that each individual is indeed encumbered by the same burden.
This burden is the shadow of God’s glory, the fact that we each are called to a life so remarkably glorious, so terrifying true, so suprisingly mundane, that we hardly dare speak what it is we are each about as we cobble away at our popsicle-stick houses. We hardly dare hint at the hope or longing which whispers to us in the presence of every human encounter and in each new day.
It is here that sin and grandeur meet, that idolatry reveals itself as life, only inside-out. For it is sin to turn the gift of granduer, the promise of communion and glory into mere production. It is granduer to simply be still and await the scandal of glory to make Himself known to us, present in our neighbor and in the gift of longing.
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
-CS Lewis, Weight of Glory