The Final Reality

Day 4: Favorite quote (from a person, from a book, etc) and why you love it.

I’m going to pretend that the prompt today is just about a quote that’s speaking to me lately, because the thought of trying to find THE quote from among all the quotes I love is overwhelming. I recently rediscovered that I had noted this quote while I was reading the book from which it originates:

“Love is the final reality; and anyone who does not understand this, be he writer or sage, is a man flawed in wisdom.”  -Sheldon Vanauken

The quote is from his book A Severe Mercy, a memoir about his life with his wife, their conversion to Christianity and their friendship with C.S. Lewis (NBD). It’s a beautiful book and I think it’s time for me to reread it. However, I love this quote because on the surface it seems kind of trite and sentimental: it’s all about love, man. But in actuality I believe it speaks deeply about the meaning of love. Vanauken’s book is no jaunt through sentimentality or rainbows-and-butterflies-love. He and his wife had a beautiful, deep relationship; their conversion took them through rocky paths and difficult realizations; and they are separated prematurely when his wife dies young. This is a man who has been through a lot and is reflecting on truths that concern life and death and faith.

Since there is so much that’s messed up in this world and so much brokenness and such a need for love, I am comforted by this quote. Love is not sentimentality or something defined by feelings or something that makes us feel better when we’re sad (necessarily). It’s a reality. Sometimes that reality is harsh or severe, but it’s the only reality that matters. Real love contains within it truth and truth isn’t always easy to accept. I think it takes time to see this, to come to understand it, but it’s oh so important that we do. Therefore, no matter how much of a poet you are or how wise you seem to be, if you don’t understand this truth, you are indeed flawed in wisdom.

Gah, it’s such a good book! Go read it!




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