Friday, July 12, 2013
Shadows -- Kathleen Gibson
We all have one, uniquely our own. They move, but don’t live. They respond instantly, but can’t see, hear, or communicate. They touch us but we feel nothing. The tiniest can’t be picked up and the largest take up no space.
Strange things, shadows. Since they were tiny, my grandbeans and I have played with them.
It took awhile for the children to recognize their own shadows. Something so ephemeral doesn’t fit well into the concrete world of a child. But then came shadow puppets at bedtime; shadow companions, cheering company on long walks; shadow duncecaps on each pebble at our feet. And one day they knew shadows. They recognized shadows. But they still don’t understand shadows.
Two of my grandbeans have named their shadows. Butterfly is cross at hers this week. I grinned as I read her mother’s Facebook status: “Tamika keeps following her around! AND has the indecency to wear the same clothes as her. She's tried stepping on her, but it won't make her go away. She's tried turning around fast - same problem.”
Ever been mad at your shadow? How do you fix that? The child knows: Since Tamika only appears when the sun is bright, she has decided to stay out of the sun.
I have another answer for that little girl, one I learned a long time ago: Forget the shadows. Keep your face to the sun, and they’ll always stay behind you.
“There won’t be any shadows in heaven,” a pastor friend commented the other day, while several of us lingered over a late breakfast. His words startled me. I’d never considered heaven from that perspective, and it delighted me. The Bible does say heaven will have no need of ‘sun to shine by day, or moon to shine by night.’ That no darkness will enter that eternal space; that it will be suffused with clear, pure light. Non-glaring, non-extinguishable. Nothing can block it—the eternal Light of the World, Jesus Christ…the Son of God.
“But I will miss Lucy in heaven,” said the other shadow-naming grandbean, when I told them their would be no shadows in heaven. “NOT me,” said her sister, she who finds hers distressing (this week at least). “I won’t miss Tamika. She is my WORST best friend.”
“My worst best friend.” How like a child to unwittingly snare the truth we adults learn only by difficult experience. For in the deepest, blackest shadows of life; in griefs and losses and midnight wakings—the dark patches we try so valiantly to push away—we begin to comprehend God’s nearness.
Got shadows? Keep your face to Heaven’s bright Son…Jesus Christ.
Sunny Side Up has been published weekly in various newspapers and elsewhere since 2001.
Read more in Kathleen's book, Practice by Practice.
For years I’ve begged my husband to bring me mustard seeds, eager to lay eyes on the tiniest Black mustard seeds grown in Canada seeds ...
My grandfather wrote in my autograph book, “Make new friends, keep the old, one is silver, the other gold.” Of all the autograph...
Dinner will be served good conversation at the dinner table around our dinner table Friday evening Jocelyne Vezina re...
Recently, I have been giving a lot of thought to hearing from God. As Christian writers do we hear from God? Does He whisper in your ear and...
Canadian astronaut turned governor-general trashes all Canadians who doubt that life is a “random process” - Denyse O'LearyFrom Global News: “And we are still debating and still questioning whether life was a divine intervention or whether it was coming ...
We've been encouraged in recent years to keep a gratitude journal. Ann Voskamp encourages readers to make a list of 1,000 things th...
By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird Recently my wife Janice and I had the privilege of attending a dance at a Legion. For many years, we have wo...
Fanny Crosby Times of seeking God often precede a moment of revelation that transforms our lives. Blind poetess and prolific hymn writ...
She hadn’t yet been born. What would it have been like to be there with her brother and four older sisters and their mother, welcoming ...
Board games often include a miniature replica of an hourglass. It is used to time a player’s turn. The timer is set in the mid...