Retreating to the Shadows


“The most mischievous—and painful—by-product of any sorrow is the illusion that it isolates one, that one is kicked out alone for this from an otherwise cheerful, bustling, ‘normal’ world.”  (From The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963)

The essence of the above statement is that sorrow can cause one to disconnect from a “normal” world.  Sorrow can describe anything that has been lost, either by us, or others because of us – feelings of grief, guilt and regret.

Who is The Man of Sorrows?

One of my favorite songs from Handel’s Messiah is the air for alto entitled, “He was Despised” (A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.)

In his book, “Isaiah 53 Explained’ , Alan M. Shore, a Jewish author, says:

Later, as I became more aware of what Jesus meant to the Christians, I could finally, honestly, ask what his death could possibly have to do with me. He had been crucified. So what? It was a sad but distant tragedy. What could the death of a man twenty centuries ago mean to me today?

It was during this time of questioning that someone showed me Isaiah 53, a passage in my own Jewish Bible. These verses leapt out at me: He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed (Isaiah 53:3-5 JPS).

For the first time, I was able to make a connection with this helpless sufferer who had been given an oversized portion of the rejection, grief, humiliation and suffering that seemed to characterize the history of my people. I also began to see at last that somehow His suffering touched my own. What was this “Man of Sorrows”? Taken together with other pieces of knowledge that were coming my way, it was not a great leap for me to see it was Jesus or Yeshua (the Hebrew name his mother called him).

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

So those you considering removing yourself from the “normal world ” because your sufferings, I would remind you that God built his church on community that connects us all with this thing called suffering.

Knowing this, gives us the same answer Jesus did…



I have entered Hospice care, to prepare me for that day very soon when my faith will become sight, so this might be my final essay on this blog.

Thank you to all who have stopped a portion of their day to read one of my essays throughout this past year.

You have all been a blessing to me.