We are living in Shadow Times. It’s a difficult time for many. As I think of Shadow Times, I think of my mother – an oil painter – an artist. Under her creative touch, a blank canvas would become transformed with majestic mountains, resplendent flowers and inviting landscapes.
Mom was also a teacher of life. One day, she explained the importance of shadows … shadows in art and shadows in life. “Shadows are just as integral as are the highlights.” <Joy Mack>
When life has become difficult for me, I’ve often recalled her words and tried to remember that in the dark, shadowy times of life (when it seems as if the light of truth, of hope, of peace, of joy are hidden), the shadows can be just as instructive as can be the joy-filled times. Sometimes, even more so. When life’s mountains and valley moments arrive, I try to be patient and remember that plateaus *will* come, where I can breathe. Eventually.
When the frosty moments and hostile people descend, I try to be patient and remember that the sun *will* shine through. Eventually.
Some say that those whose lives have been negatively impacted by life have been sent these things by God as a *test.* I can’t believe in a deity such as that. What kind of god would … create babies born with medical complications … ‘spare’ some in accidents/disasters while killing others … arm terrorists who terrorize/maim/kill … pollute the atmosphere, water … cause climate change … choose ‘who’, ‘when’, ‘how’, ‘where’ people die … decide whose lives are devoured by disease, addiction, mental illness … profoundly affect lives by government shut-down, grief, financial set-back, health issues, divorce, violence, lack of freedom, addiction, abuse, poverty, mental illness. Not a loving one.
Some people think that Shadow Times are to be completely forgotten. I don’t. I believe that such moments serve a purpose, and that by disregarding the challenges of life, we lose opportunities for personal growth.
May these Shadow-Times lead us into action, into involvement, into opportunities to be a “channel of peace” as St. Francis of Assisi wisely counselled, so that where there is hatred, we can feel and sow love. Where there is injury, we can offer receive and pardon. Where there is doubt, we can model faith. Where there is despair, we can be hope for others. Where there is darkness, we can bring a glimpse of light. And where there is sadness, we can experience and share joy … even in Shadow Times.