On the internet I found this beautiful quotation by C .S. Lewis:

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind".

Now, I'd like to find the exact book where he wrote it.

1 Answer 1


It comes from a letter to Mary Willis Shelburne, a lady who was (thought to be) dying.

From this page about the Misquotable C. S. Lewis (emphasis mine):

When you read the above words what do you think about? More than likely you think they are meant to be encouraging words for someone facing a unfamiliar situation, like finishing school, or beginning a new job. Or maybe these words are meant to encourage someone who has had a terrible past and is hoping for a better future? While those would be nice sentiments, the context shows a very different meaning. They are found in a letter Lewis wrote to Mary Willis Shelburne on June 17, 1963. It’s available in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3.

Ironically, Lewis would die less than five months later. This is ironic because his words are part of comments expressed to Shelburne to comfort her as she was in the hospital and it was thought that her days were numbered. She actually went on to live twelve more years!

When you read the actual letter Lewis penned to Shelburne you find that early on he is challenging her about being fearful of dying by saying, “Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer?” At the close of the same paragraph he states “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

And from 7 Things C. S. Lewis Didn't Say (although in this case he did say it):

Lewis actually did say this, but not in the context it is so often used. It is not some trite expression of optimism about the future. He was not giving some syrupy graduation speech to tell you all your dreams will come true. It was written to a woman facing a looming death.

In Letters to an American Lady, Lewis wrote these words to Mary Willis Shelburne who, being old and frail, was discussing the end of her life. Unbeknownst to him, Lewis was only five months away from his own death.

The question immediately before this line gives a better understanding of what Lewis means with this statement. “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret?” He wrote those words to remind her of the glory that would be hers after she walked through the valley of death.

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