Sunday is a day on which I often do something many consider to be important but others less so.

The ironing.

It is not so much the task which I enjoy (although I don’t mind it) but what I do while doing it – and it passes the time too.

For in recent months I have used such occasions to watch some of those classic films I have to admit I have never seen.

Wonderful Ealing Comedies such as The Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts and Coronets. Orson Welles in Citizen Kane and the beautifully photographed The Third Man. The challenges and issues laid bare in In the Heat of the Night. Last weekend I watched The Diary of Anne Frank – another stark portrayal of human life.

For this post I want to focus on the moving movie that is Shadowlands. Telling the story of CS Lewis and Joy Davidman it’s a touching romance with a sad ending. And it’s one line in that film that seems very appropriate for this Holy Week.

It’s the final line said by Joy Davidman (and repeated by Lewis in the closing voiceover). It’s based around Lewis’ own words in A Grief Observed, the book he wrote after her death:

‘The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.’

One wonders whether Queen Elizabeth II had those words in mind when she observed that ‘Grief is the price we pay for love.’

That all the love and happiness we experience brings with it the consequences of pain and grief when that love and happiness comes to an end.

But is it a ‘deal’? I’m not sure any of us would shake hands on that arrangement.

In some aspects of life, and I know this is true for myself, one can be cautious about entering in to that which represents ‘love and happiness’ because of the pain and grief that will take place when it ends.

God's griefAnd as I write this in Holy Week, one cannot but fail to reflect on the current events in the world at this time and also on the individual lives of many who are experiencing pain and grief. What love and happiness they have lost.

We might also reflect on the events and emotions of what happened nearly 2,000 years ago where God’s grief was the price paid for the love and happiness of humankind.

But why did God choose that way? Such a brutal death of his son. What kind of deal was that?

Now of course many theologians (both the academic ones and the ordinary, you and I type thinkers) can offer explanations about why Jesus had to die in such a way.

But pause now as you read this and think for a moment about God’s pain and grief.




Thankfully, for all of us, God had the ‘final line’. The resurrection.

So maybe, after all, much as we struggle to understand the nature of this particular ‘deal’,  God’s grief, God’s pain, is part of the happiness that is to come.



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In this season of Holy Week & Easter do take a look at some short films and other resources which may be helpful.

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Categories: Prayer