The Cowardly Lion
When I think about my childhood, I see courage. When my father called my name, it took courage each time to respond to him. Of course, I didn’t have a choice but I still honor the courage it took to respond.
When I attended school and was made fun of for my weight and unkept appearance, it took courage to go each day and not completely hate myself. Every night I showed up at the dinner table and sat with a mother who never looked at me and probably would have been happier if I was at someone else’s table. That took great strength.
I kept a sense of humor, when I could. That also took courage.
Where was the courage of my father? Or my mother? What strength did it take to mastermind the control of children? They were bullies who habitually caused harm to the members of their household. It’s what they used to hide their fear.
The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred.
For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.
Mere Christianity, CS Lewis
It took no strength for them to give into every self-indulgent, diabolical act they wanted. They were cold self-righteous prigs. Their attendance at church brought them closer to hell than God.
I am not the coward in this story. They are.
Originally published at http://prisonerbynocrimeofmyown.com on December 7, 2021.