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.
The 1952 romance/musical, Singing in the Rain was so spectacular that I went to see it twice. The fact that my talented and handsome g...
When it rains in the countryside where I live, one could take the high road to avoid flooding that is certain on the roads in the low-lyi...
I read a message in our writer’s group forum this week in which a member posed the question, “Are leaders born that way or are they made...
Resolutions. Goals. Objectives. Whatever we call them, if we don't have focus, we won't achieve what we desire in the year ahea...
Paradoxes intrigue me. As a writer I strive, with less than perfect success, to reduce or eliminate the passive voice from my work. I routin...
See Genesis 25-35 for the story of Jacob Poor Jacob! You can't help feeling sorry for him. Oh, he was a cad. Getting Esau to sell ...
Have you ever been neck deep in trouble? I've been there and it's not an entirely pleasant experience. I recall hanging upside down ...
As I began to think about posting a blog again on the first day of the New Year, I wondered how on earth I could find anythi...
The Edmonton Journal published this a month or so ago...interesting that they changed the title to "Universal Generosity Holds Couple ...
Adrenaline is not often associated with writing. Adrenaline kicks in simultaneously with fear, or starts pumping while engaged in a sport. I...