As a kid I used to like to make shadow puppets on the wall. Dogs and butterflies and ducks and bunnies. The simple stuff. But what fun! Making up stories as I moved my hands back and forth through the light to cast shadows.
That’s the thing about shadows, without light they do not exist.
It is the position of the light; its intensity, its strength, that determines the shadow cast.
We may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but let us not forget there is a light burning somewhere for death’s shadow to exist.
It’s easy to focus on the shadow and believe it is the ultimate reality, to give it more significance because it may be immediately present. Alternatively we may focus on the object casting the shadow. Completely understandable. Again, easy to pay attention to that which is right in front of us.
But what happens when I begin to seek the source of the light instead of the shadow or even the shadow-caster?
I realize I don’t see my own shadow if I look toward the sun (don’t look at it directly, or run with scissors, or swim right after eating). It’s only when my back is turned or my gaze strays to another point that I become aware of shadow. Try it. Look at a light bulb…where is your shadow?
You’re right, of course. It’s still sprawled out behind you. The point isn’t “does the shadow exist or not”, but what will we focus on? Will we live in the light or hide in the shadow?
I’m loving this Lenten journey. I feel like I am coming back to myself after a great slumber or a long absence I’ve mistaken my shadow for the real me. I’m emerging from Plato’s cave (want a song to sing for the journey? try this one or this one). I’m allowing things to surface, bringing them into the light, that have been long since buried. I’m remembering and recommitting and I feel the stirrings of a great joy.
Can you sense it friends? Let us leave the shadows and walk as “children of the light”. Our eyes will adjust and we’ll see things we never imagined while we lived in the shadow. A glorious, wonderful life is starting to take shape. It is a life of light, not shadow. It is a life we are all invited to share.
Life is better together,