Rebekah Choat's Reviews > A Severe Mercy

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
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Aug 10, 14

bookshelves: owned
Read from June 04 to July 03, 2012

Sheldon and Jean “Davy” Vanauken shared an intense and intentional devotion, deliberately planning and diligently preparing for the life they wished to lead, erecting a carefully-crafted Shining Barrier to shield them from anything that might alter or diminish their ideal love. Fortune seemed to favor them as they followed their shared dream, achieving their goals and reveling in their “pagan joys.” While living in Oxford for a time, they came to know C.S. Lewis – and Jesus Christ. Davy gave herself wholeheartedly to the Christian life; Sheldon chose also to believe, but reservedly. And thus the Barrier was breached.

In a purely selfless act of which her husband was unaware at the time, Davy in prayer one night offered herself, her very life, up to God for Sheldon, that his soul might be fulfilled. Whether her mysterious illness and death the following year were the direct result of that prayer, no one can say with any certainty; however, in working through his grief, he did, in fact, come to complete commitment to Christ.

A Severe Mercy is a richly detailed memoir of idyllic love, as well as a candid account of the author’s search for truth and faith. The text includes a number of letters from C.S. Lewis, whom Vanauken remembered as “the friend in my loss and grief…the friend who would go with me down to the bedrock of meaning.”


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06/04/2012 page 56
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