Golgotha: The Meaning of the Journey

byzantine crucifixMy children, when you were little, we used sometimes to go for walks in our pine woods.  In the open fields, you would run along by yourselves.  But you used instinctively to give me your hands as we entered those woods, where it was darker, lonelier, and in the stillness our voices sounded loud and frightening.  In this book I am again giving you my hands.  I am leading you, not through cool pinewoods, but up and up a narrow defile between bare and steep rocks from which in shadow things uncoil and slither away.  It will be dark.  But, in the end, if I have let you aright, you will make out three crosses, from two of which hang thieves.  I will have brought you to Golgotha—the place of skulls.  This is the meaning of the journey.  Before you understand, I may not be there; my hands maybe have slipped from yours.  It will not matter.  For when you understand what you see, you will no longer be children.  You will know that life is pain, that each of us hangs always upon the cross of himself.  And when you know that this is true of every man, woman, and child on earth, you will be wise.

—Whittaker Chambers, WITNESS, 1952

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