I read a book called A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken. I haven’t been able to read anything since because I suspect that no book will speak directly to my soul as A Severe Mercy. It is rare to come across a book of that depth. The book is the story of the love Sheldon shares with his wife, Davy. This is not a spoiler as any book review will disclose this, but Davy dies, and it is C.S. Lewis who tells Sheldon that her death was “a severe mercy.”
In the introduction to the book, Vanauken writes, “A severe mercy – the phrase haunted him: a mercy that was as severe as death, a death that was as merciful as love. For it had been death in love, not death of love. Love can die in many ways, most of them far more terrible than physical death; and if all natural love must die in one way or another, Davy’s death – he and she in love – was the death that hinted at springtime and rebirth.”
Read it. Please.
Before A Severe Mercy I read a book called Illegal, by Terry Greene Sterling. It was brilliant. If you want an honest look at the immigration “problem” in Phoenix, I found this to be informative and even somewhat emotional. She tells the stories of real people, not some text book explanation of an issue that many of us view from a distance.
Lastly, because A Severe Mercy cannot keep me from reading forever, I have been flipping through some of my favorite poets to quench my thirst for literature: Tennyson mostly and Emily – we are on a first name basis. She gets me. I’ll pick something else up to read pretty soon here. Oh, and I nearly forgot I am reading Radical, by David Platt in my small group. Still not sure what I think about it…