I’m continuing to read/skim The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis. And last night I came across something I had to reread. In July 1940, he wrote to Dom Bede Griffiths, “In fact I have recently come to the conclusion that a besetting sin of mine all my life has been one which I never suspected – laziness….”
I certainly would have never suspected that either. When I read his letters and look at all the work he did then and throughout his life, about the last thing I would call C. S. Lewis is “lazy.” When I look at his academic work only, as an Oxford student then Fellow, I sometimes wonder how he found the stamina and doubt I could have handled his schedule even in my younger days. But he wasn’t just an academic, of course. People often forget his work included maintaining a household which included the often difficult Janie Moore, the mother of his fallen friend from World War I, Paddy Moore, from a young age. Lazy?
My opinion is that what we see here is that Lewis could be hard on people, including himself. Some of his private comments on people he met and dealt with were less than charitable. He seems a snob at times. But he was perhaps hardest on himself. He took self-examination and confession very seriously. Some of his introspection even comes across as obsessive on occasion. Perhaps that trait is one reason he wrote The Screwtape Letters so well.
In any case, if C. S. Lewis was the least bit lazy, I hate to think what that makes me!