shadows

by Zach Kincaid
What if the earth used up its shadows? Gone would be these empty selves that follow us in ones, twos, and threes. Buildings could stand straight up with no morning and afternoon penitence.

Imagine it. It would be like moonless nights which cast an arrogance, wrapped up in no reminders of any ground below us. It would mean freedom. No need to ask Wendy for help if our shadow becomes dislodged and needs mending.

We would not have to account for any shortcomings. God is light and in him is no darkness. Our shadow tells us who we are: dark holes and on the verge of falling into our own abysses.

Artificial light creates shadows that we turn off or on, but the heavenly bodies cast these subtle reminders that dance across earth’s creation without our doing. It suggests that we are not our own.

But aren’t we the instigator of our actions? Doesn’t our shadow follow us; we do not follow it?

In some respect, our shadow mimics our behavior. If we end here this analysis is drunk and stumbling. But...

Can we rid ourselves of our shadow? Must we attempt to keep it stuck to us?

Of course we’re glued to it. And we often echo Pan’s cockiness - “How clever I am... oh the cleverness of me,” forgetting that we are knit together by God and cast into the makings and trappings of his world.

Follow Solomon’s lead: everything under the sun is meaningless for, “God made humanity upright, but we have gone in search of many schemes.” In the valley of the shadow of death, the mountain is transfigured to something accessible to us, we think, with no upward climb and without the irritant of Moses’s gleam.

We never really wander far from our own thinned-out selves. We are shifting shadows, without the contours of faith and love, with no scars that speak devotion and no mass that knells to the unknown saga of an escaping soul. We become general and easily adapted into a tolerant world that expects no judgment and asks for no definition.

The escape into substance revolves around admission of emptiness and then falling into it. Where do we land? Nothing lasts except the grace of God by which we stand. That’s not solid ground the way we know it. But the confidence is that there is no shadow of turning with Jesus. Heaven has nothing lingering and our soul will finally outrun our earthly baggage - including its shadowy tail.

(Perhaps the Apostle Peter holds an exception to our discussion since his magic shadow healed the desperately sick when they hopped into it.)