A monkey on her back

The Screwtape Letters was the first C.S. Lewis book that I read, when I was in my early twenties. The format of the contents are letters from the master devil, Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood, who has just come to hell and is learning the tricks of the trade, as it were. As the book proceeds and the master demon explains how to take advantage of human nature, Lewis is explaining how insidious evil is and how easily we succumb to its appeal. As the letters proceed, Wormwood is instructed by his once uncle, now chief of the fiery depths, Wormwood does not seem as adept at devilry and ultimately is consumed by the greater devil.

After highly recommending the book to my cousin Theresa and listening to her thoughts on the book, and having an additional twenty years of life under my belt, I re-read it and came away, and an equal level of admiration for the insights Lewis expressed.

In my late thirties I read his The Great Divorce which took us on a bus ride from hell to heaven. One of the passengers on the bus was a man with a small monkey on his back. The tour guide from heaven asked the man to give him the monkey but the man would not give it up. As the bus ride continued, the man grew smaller and the monkey larger.

Every once in awhile there is someone in the path of my life who is like the man with the monkey. She clings tightly to the monkey and refuses to let it go. Time moves along and the person walks closer and closer to the end of her timeline but will not give up what is harming her physically as well as spiritually. Nothing I have said, or recommended, regardless of the frequency of my plea, or suggestions is given more than a nod. It is with a heavy heart I listen again to the broken record of the saga she will not give up.


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