A few years ago I was introduced to a 160 page treasure of insight,

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis.

The little classic held a passage I was commissioned to paint. Anticipation to absorb it’s words and pick up my paintbrush gripped me. Already a Lewis fan, I slapped down my ten bucks without hesitation.

I flipped to the first page. Mr. Lewis had a habit of packing profound statements into his pieces. God blessed that man with a beautiful mind and the ability to bid ours out of our normal set. There’s nothing like a refreshing air balloon ride up out of our stuffy perspectives, eh?

I have a habit of sharing what I learn with any available ear. My Mom is a fellow fan of his too, though she hadn’t read it. The proximity of her lawn chair to mine meant she would inevitably hear half the story from my mouth. Not wanting to spoil it for her, we came to the conclusion it would be best if I read the entire thing out loud.

So I did. I began it up north in my Grandma’s lawn and finished it a little over three hours later in my parent’s kitchen. I can’t begin to tell you how overwhelmed I felt getting out of that car. It’s a short, easy read apart from the fact its also an allegory on Heaven and Hell. As Wikipedia describes, it’s “an imaginative attempt at depicting realities which can otherwise not be expressed at all.”

I’m not sure Mr. Lewis intended for it to be read in one sitting (or out loud for that matter, as both voice and ear were raw) bearing the gamut of emotions it invoked. Please note, I’m analytical. I was overtaken by the realities amidst the complete imagination of it. I found some relief in his conclusion.

Yikes. If you haven’t read it, I may have just discouraged you. That was not my intention. I thought instead, to dissuade you from tackling it in the same fashion I did. Or maybe I shouldn’t? Focusing our finite minds on Heaven and Hell for a long frequency of time can be quite a shock. We give thought to eternity little time most days and then find we’re only able to handle it in smaller doses.

I don’t think God intended such a significant part of our existence to take up so little of our thoughtlife. Eternity is true reality now and our destiny. Think on how the speck we know as “time” fits on the line of eternity…and how Jesus taught us to seek His (eternal) Kingdom first. (Matthew 6:33)

Ok, on to the point of this post. One of my very favorite artists, Brooke Fraser, wrote a song inspired by this book. I realized she also penned my theme song in it. So it’s to Brooke and Clive that I owe the title of this blog. Here are the lyrics to it:

Shadowfeet

Walking, stumbling
On these shadow feet
Toward home, a land that I’ve never seen
I am changing
Less and less asleep
Made of different stuff than when I began

And I have sensed it all along
Now fast approaching is the day

When the world has fallen out from under me
I’ll be found in you, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you

There’s distraction
Buzzing in my head
Saying in the shadows it’s easier to stay
But I’ve heard rumours of true reality
Whispers of a well-lit way

You make all things new

When the world has fallen out from under me
I’ll be found in you, still standing
Every fear and accusation under my feet
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you

To spare you from my lengthy description of the book, I found a short summary that should suffice. I would like to give credit where credit is due, but the reviewer’s name wasn’t listed. I can cite it though. See yahoo answers for the question “What is the meaning of Brooke Fraser’s song Shadowfeet?” and you’ll find it as the best answer.

“Lewis paints the picture of Heaven and Hell and the afterlife. When everyone dies (in the story) they board a bus and enter into these green plains where everything is so real, and they are but mere shadows. Every blade of grass hurts their feet as if they were stepping on daggers, as Lewis states in the book, “Reality is harsh on the feet of shadows.” But the closer they move towards the Mountains (Heaven), the less shadowy they become, and the more real they get. Not everybody is moving towards the Mountains though. Some can’t take the journey and decide to go to the Ghost Town (Hell) because they cannot see what’s beyond the Mountain gates, all they hear are rumors that it’s a better place than the plains, but others are trying to convince them to go to the Ghost Town. That’s what Brooke is talking about when she says “There’s distraction buzzing in my head, saying in the Shadows it’s easier to stay.”

When we’re fixed on our earthly ambitions and pursuits we miss out on the greater purpose God has designed for us. We walk and struggle and stumble on shadowfeet. Basically, we sleepwalk through life. We were made for more than that. We’re more than we seem, think and believe. God intended for the truth of who we are and Who He is to be very clear to us.

He designed us to journey through this life by the strength of His Word and the power of the infilling of the His Spirit. His Word is our daily bread. We need it just as much or more than our bodies need food. Along with the Holy Spirit, it is meant to fill us up with the truth and empower us to be and live out the reality of who we are.

God also designed us to journey in the light of His Word. Psalm 119 (NIV) says,

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (vs 105)

The unfolding of Your words gives light (vs 130a)

Our feet were meant to feel the warmth of His light. The way may not seem that bright when we start out, but we have some wonderful hope. And an expectation that the light will increase:

But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared]. Proverbs 4:18, (AMP)

I’m so thankful that… He’s changing me. I’m less asleep and made of different stuff. I’m hearing truth and have a well-lit way. My path will continue to get brighter and clearer until this speck of time and space are through…when I’ll be found firmly standing in Him.

May your feet feel the warmth of His glow from heel to toe.

🙂 Cara

P.S. The Great Divorce inspired another song I love, by Caedmon’s Call.

The High Countries

A bus station, in the steam from the rain
In this line of pale strangers, should I go or stay?

The whole field of vision, fades beneath me now
And the houses spread for a million miles,
in this gray town

And the weight of glory, if you held it in your hand
It would pass right through you, so now’s your chance

Would you fall to pieces
Would you fall to pieces
Would you fall to pieces
In the high countries?

We are just pilgrims of the great divorce
I am witness to the light and I am captive to my own remorse

And the weight of glory, if you held it in your hand
It would pass right through you, so now’s your chance

You drink the cup to the bottom, but it burns in your hands
The cup was poured out on the Maker instead

Out on the green plains, I am but a ghost
Bound up with all that I call “mine” still the light grows