Experts in the field tell us that a time of crisis is the worst possible time to make a decision. Vowing to never drive again after an accident doesn’t make a lot of sense, and the widow should give it a little time before selling the home and everything in it. Calamity has a way of blurring one’s thinking.
This principle is true not only in the big decisions, it affects immediate impressions as well. When nerves are on edge, they are a lot more sensitive to inflections in the voice, body language, a perceived “look” in the eye.
In a letter dated March 24, 1955, C. S. Lewis writes to a friend who will soon undergo an operation. There is apprehension, as one would expect. But there is also a sense of cynicism that, before and after the operation, would not be present. Lewis cautions,
“Just a line of sympathy and encouragement on the impending operation. Extra faith has been given to meet crises before, and I pray that it will be now. Be very much on your guard against the growth of a feeling that Fr. A. or anyone else ‘Does not sound interested.’ When we are in trouble we easily think this, don’t we? And at all times, we v. easily misinterpret expressions of face & tones of voice. Often, too, the person we speak to is at that moment full of troubles we know nothing about.”1
It’s wise not to make a major decision in a time of crisis. Be it about your job, your house, or your friends.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8.
1. Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 588.