omnivorous attentiveness

O that I may be a man of omnivorous attentiveness!

Lewis’s keen penetrating sense of his own heart’s aching for Joy, combined with his utter amazement at the sheer, objective realness of things other than himself, has over and over awakened me from the slumbers of self-absorption to see and savor the world and through the world, the Maker of the world. And this sense of wonder at what is—really is—has carried over into doctrine, and the gospel in particular.

Lewis gave me, and continues to give me, an intense sense of the astonishing “realness? of things. He had the ability to see and feel what most of us see and do not see. He had what Alan Jacobs called “omnivorous attentiveness.” 40 I love that phrase. What this has done for me is hard to communicate. To wake up in the morning and to be aware of the firmness of the mattress, the warmth of the sun’s rays, the sound of the clock ticking, the coldness of the wooden floor, the wetness of the water in the sink, the sheer being of things (quiddity as he called it). And not just to be aware but to wonder. To be amazed that the water is wet. It did not have to be wet. If there were no such thing as water, and one day some one showed it to you, you would simply be astonished.

He helped me become alive to life. To look at the sunrise and with say with an amazed smile, “God did it again!” He helped me to see what is there in the world—things which if we didn’t have them, we would pay a million dollars to have, but having them, ignore. He convicts me of my callous inability to enjoy God’s daily gifts. He helps me to awaken my dazed soul so that the realities of life and of God and heaven and hell are seen and felt. I could go on about the good effect of this on preaching, and the power of communication. But it has been precious mainly just for living.

John Piper, in his sermon "Lessons From and Inconsolable Soul" (a biography of C.S. Lewis)

Take time to smell the roses...and be amazed!


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