I came across this comment in Letters to an American Lady. In Surprised by Joy, Lewis shows great generosity for the schoolmaster who quite brutal to him and others–I describe here in “On the Nobody Somebody Has Inside: Lewis, Me, and Bullies.” I had thought that he had accepted the man’s psychotic break and the harsh structures of private school, and moved on. But see here:
“Dear Mary … Do you know, only a few weeks ago I realized suddenly that I at last had forgiven the cruel schoolmaster who so darkened my childhood. I’d been trying to do it for years; and like you, each time I thought I’d done it, I found, after a week or so it all had to be attempted over again. But this time I feel sure it is the rel thing. And (like learning to swim or to ride a bicycle) the moment it does happen it seems so easy and you wonder why on earth you didn’t do it years ago. So the parable of the unjust judge comes true, and what has been vainly asked for years can suddenly be granted. I also get a quite new feeling about ‘If you forgive you will be forgiven.’ I don’t believe it is, as it sounds, a bargain. The forgiving and the being forgiven are really the very same thing. But one is safe as long as one keeps on trying.
This letter is written on July 6, 1963. C.S. Lewis fell ill nine days later. He never fully recovered.
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