The Woman

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‘And who are all these young men and women on each side?’ ‘They are her sons and daughters.’ ‘She must have had a very large family, Sir.’ ‘Every young man or boy that met her became her son—even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.’ ‘Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents?’ ‘no. There are those that steal other people’s children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.’ ‘And how … but hullo! What are all these animals? A cat–two cats–dozens of cats. And all these dogs … why, I can’t count them. And the birds. And the horses.’ ‘They are her beasts.’ ‘Did she keep a sort of zoo? I mean, this is a bit too much.’ ‘Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.’ -CS Lewis, The Great Divorce, pp 119-120.