Life without mystery—a sight of the unseen—simply is not life.
PAUL DWIGHT MOODY, AUGUST 1929
My joy in having begun my life is very great.
G. K. CHESTERTON TO E. C. BENTLEY, MAY 1895
In 1895, one year after his emergence from despair, Chesterton received communication from an unexpected quarter: an invitation to write for a magazine called the Academy. He had just turned twenty-one, and though he could not have known it, this was a first step toward the career that would dominate the rest of his life: that of a journalist.
Kevin Belmonte, from Defiant Joy, Chapter 4
In Chapter 4 of Defiant Joy, Chesterton’s professional and personal life are off to a grand start. Though reading and writing had always been his passion, now they were his profession. These formative years must have been foundational to the great discipline he displayed through years of prolific writing, but life was not all work. There was also time for love.
As Kevin Belmonte writes,
When Chesterton entered the suite of offices occupied by Fisher Unwin at Paternoster Buildings, London, he entered a place where he would spend the next five years of his working life. During the day, he read unsolicited manuscripts. He spent many of his nights writing.
This was a great step forward professionally, but it was not by any means the most important event of the autumn of 1896. The great event of that year, and of his life, was his first meeting with the woman who would become his wife.
What was your first job as an adult?
How did it shape you?
D I G D E E P E R
Kevin Belmonte holds a BA in English from Gordon College, an MA in Church History from Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and a second master’s degree in American and New England Studies from the University of Southern Maine. He has twice been a finalist for the prestigious John Pollock Award for Christian Biography, and in 2003, his biography, “William Wilberforce,” won that award. On several occasions, he has served as a script consultant for the BBC, and also for the PBS documentary, “The Better Hour.” For six years, he was the lead script and historical consultant for the critically-acclaimed film, “Amazing Grace.” He has spoken in a wide array of noteworthy settings, from the Houses of Parliament in London, and gatherings of legislators in Washington, D.C., to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. For several years, his biography of Wilberforce has been required reading for a course taught by David Gergen on leadership and character formation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Sources & Resources
Joseph Pearce, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996), 37.
As quoted in Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 104–5.
Kevin Belmonte, Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G. K. Chesterton (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011).