Within times of hardship, it is easy to become consumed with all that goes wrong instead of focusing on the realistic perspective that could be gained about our lives. Through "Learning in a Wartime," C.S. Lewis gracefully alludes to wartime, human nature, and Christianity through his well-crafted, insightful piece in order to present our current, fearful focus, versus accepting life for its reality as a substitution. Through further analyzation of excitement, frustration, and fear, approaching our everyday lives with a more accepting, Godly view is the key to fulfilling our true vocation.
Moments of struggle create the false illusion that there are more problems than there are present. Lewis says, "The war creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it." In other words, self-struggle and external conflict does not create abnormalities. Instead, it enhances existing problems. For example, in a gunpowder painting, gunpowder is scattered across a canvas to create an image. To see the full art, it needs to be lit on fire. If it is not lit, then we are only stuck with the current image, and it only leaves us wondering about what it could potentially be. The gunpowder alludes to our current problems.
By recognizing our conflict and trying to learn from it, it ignites a flame that will help reveal the full image, or in other words, it will aid us in better discovering our true vocation. Allowing conflict to overwhelm us ultimately blinds us from being able to learn and see beyond what we could potentially gain. With that illusion comes the difficulty in moving forward with our lives. Accepting the problems that are present is the first step in truly freeing oneself to fully be able to discover more within ourselves, like the image, and it gives us better chance to discover our vocation. Through resilience, our vocation will come clear to us.
It is human nature to constantly be curious and unsatisfied, however, no one in this world will ever accomplish all they desire in one lifetime. With the attempt to accomplish everything, the natural feeling would result in frustration. There is always something that will not be accomplished at the end of the road. As Lewis stated, "pursue knowledge as such, and beauty, as such, in the sure confidence that by so doing we are either advancing to the vision of God ourselves or indirectly helping others to do so." By directing your vocation for the glory of God, one is bound to live a fruitful and everlasting life. If one's goal is to do everything in the world, their purpose of serving God will be lost if they are consumed with only self-fulfillment through all things other than God.
As much as we try to find self-fulfillment in life, what matters most is that we direct our fulfillment towards the glory in God. "The intellectual life is not the only road to God, nor the safest, but we find it to be a road, and it may be the appointed road for us. Of course, it will be so only so long as we keep the impulse pure and disinterested." Through our service for the glory of God, only then can we truly feel like we have done everything. The only fulfillment should be sought after giving glory to God, not for selfish fulfillment that ultimately leaves us feeling empty and unaccomplished.
There is no one way and exact one time that death will reach everyone. It is inevitable that death will eventually come towards our direction since all humans will eventually die at some point. "We can guard against the illusions of the imagination" over death, however, it will not prevent death from reaching the human race. If we live in constant fear over death, then we are unable to fully witness the life in living. "Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure the search would never have begun." Rather than being afraid to die, we should be more afraid of allowing our vocation to die. Your vocation will not truly be fulfilled if your constant focus is on the fear of death. Rather, it will sit in nothingness. To truly fulfill our vocation is not to think about death, but focusing on what we do when we are living.
People often focus too much on the casualties of war but not enough of the insight it brings. C.S. Lewis wrote his piece, "Learning in Wartime" ultimately to encourage those during World War II to preserve their studies and continue to look towards God. Although written during another century, his words still strike relevance to this day through his insightful view to learn during times of "war" and also to continue working towards ministry through our everyday lives. Through his insight over external war, our internal conflicts may allude to his words and further help us overcome the obstacles hindering us from growing within ourselves and our growing faith. With our continuum through serving God after discovering our vocation, the word of Christianity will further spread through the world.