A blog I read mentioned the concept of a “pleasant inn” in his post today. I’ve linked to the blog at the bottom of this post. The concept of the pleasant inn comes from C.S. Lewis’s book The Problem of Pain. I’ve placed an excerpt below:
“The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”
The idea is simple. If you’re a Christian, you’re not home yet. Your home is not in this world. Rather, you are a sojourner, a traveler on your way home, but you’re not there yet. As Jon Foreman once sang, “This world is where I breathe, but let it never be called home.” Nevertheless, even though we are yet travelling and this side of eternity is ultimately unsatisfying, God has seen fit to supply us with some refreshment. These are the pleasantries we enjoy while we are yet on our way home. As C.S. Lewis puts it, these are the pleasant inns in which we stay briefly and do not reside eternally.
So I thought to myself, what are my pleasant inns? What are the things that refresh me?
Disc golf has long been a favorite hobby of mine. A mentor introduced me to it in college, gave me a few discs, and from there I never looked back. It’s a refreshing hobby to me for three main reasons. One, it’s outdoors and I love being outdoors, especially in the summers. Two, it’s social. Bring along a friend or two and, no matter the difference in skill, you’ll have fun. Third and finally, it’s absolutely free. Other than a small investment initially to get some discs, there are no course fees. Even if you don’t have the capital to purchase a few discs, you’ll be fine. Chances are you’ve been introduced to disc golf by someone who already has plenty of discs to borrow, so no worries.
Something else that refreshes me is coffee. Think a piping hot cup of french pressed coffee sitting next to a pastry like a lemon pound cake or a cinnamon roll. I like to have my journal and Bible with me and I like to pray. This is a favorite hobby of mine throughout the year, but especially in the winter. When colder temperatures draw the disc golf season to a close and condemn me to stay indoors for extended periods of time, my favorite place is a quiet cafe. It’s probably one in the middle of nowhere that you’ve never heard of. I’m probably drinking a coffee whose name you can’t pronounce and identifying flavors and notes you’d never associate with coffee. I joke because, I confess, as much as I enjoy drinking and tasting coffee, I’m not as much of a snob as I let on. I know some real snobs and I’m not quite as bad as they are. I just think it’s fun to sip coffee with a friend and let our coffee stimulate our conversation.
While neither of these make me feel at home, they relax and refresh me. If I’m honest, I’m addicted to doubt and to legalism. Those two things are to what my mind naturally defaults. I doubt that God is exists or that He really loves me. I try to earn the gift that has been freely given to me. Both coffee and disc golf serve to remind me that God is fundamentally good even when I don’t feel like it. He is for me. While I am not yet home, these things comfort and refresh me for the journey.
Robert McKenzie’s blog: http://faithandamericanhistory.wordpress.com/