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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Proffitt

Podcast - Searching for Joy: C.S. Lewis Part 1

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Before he was known to the world as C.S. Lewis, “Jacks” as his friends and family called him, struggled through his early years. After his mother’s passing and the trenches of the Great War, Lewis was a fledgling scholar trying to make his way in the world. But he was also searching for Joy. This opening episode traces Lewis’s life from the paradise of Little Lea to the trenches on the Western Front and back to Oxford again.

As with all our stories, C.S. Lewis was profoundly shaped by the experiences of his childhood. 

After the death of his mother, his emotionally unavailable father put him in boarding school. Later in life, C.S. Lewis would describe this school as a concentration camp. It later became evident by the witness of other students that there was emotional abuse taking place from the school master. The school master was later expelled from his role and Lewis begged his father to remove him from the school. Lewis was placed with a private tutor who greatly enriched Lewis’s inner world. 

It was these experiences along with always feeling like an outsider that shaped Lewis and his later writings. He was very intrigued by fantasy and fiction. The emotional experiences of his childhood along with a deep inner-world that often left him feeling outcast from others shaped him as a man and his later academic pursuits. 

WWI interrupted his academic pursuits, and he was drafted in 1917. In 1918, he was wounded and spent the rest of the war recovering from his injury. This let him go back to Oxford to resume his studies. 

A deep theme throughout Lewis’s writings and even looking back on his own childhood, was a focus on joy – what it was and where to find it. He looked everywhere. 

Lewis was primed by God for conversion through his childhood and experiences. God did not waste one ounce of Lewis’s suffering but used trials to prime him to receive the gospel. Lewis knew what it felt like to endure deep loss, to feel neglected, to feel alone, and to wonder and contemplate deeply on the topic of joy – a pondering which God was well-pleased to answer.  

Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas and is a writer and content manager for So We Speak.


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