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Before daylight dawns full, native oaks and leafy shade trees become dark giants looming across the golden hills behind our property. Eyes scrunch as I pause at our bedroom windows to analyze the landscape.

What massive shapes… where did they come from?

And I look over at the neighbor’s yard. Expecting to see – what I’m not sure. Something capable of producing such large images, all the way across his yard, over the creek and onto the other side of grazing land…

But, they’re only shadows.

Lengthening in the morning’s partial sunrise, large objects take advantage and appear gigantic. Five or ten times their natural size – stretching their influence to intimidate.

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This is life at times, shadows of circumstances or incidents or unfriendly faces loom large across my line of vision, to threaten and terrify, to send me into hiding.

At times it’s past sins, from a lifelong and endless stream of foolish mistakes – words flung from these lips before finishing the thought, before reining in ideals better left unsaid… criticism or disappointment, irritation, anger, all etched on my face, when I should offer a hand and a smile instead.

I slip onto my knees and ask forgiveness, praying for wisdom and grace to respond to others the way I long for others to respond to me.

One woman told me recently, she wouldn’t do anything over if given the chance…

Really? Nothing you regret? Not even a single decision or one twelve-hour period you would re-live if given the chance?

I cannot relate.

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No regrets? No fearful shadows? No towers of doubt and insecurity hanging over her?

At all?

Ever?

I don’t know her well enough to ask, Why. Or how she came to that place.

Later I told a closer friend about the un-shadowed woman. She too wondered, and gave me her thoughts. The next morning, we talked again. Strange, a wife and mom who wouldn’t go back to do something over, to make something better?

Could be her temperament. Or determination. Resolve. Keeping her eyes on the goal by not looking behind.

Or is it faith? A trust that will not waver, un-tossed when hurricane-size gales blow, roots planted firm and deep…

Even when all around, darkness lingers and shadows loom.

Knowing every moment of the past, of today, of every day to come, is bathed in the pure light of God’s grace, in a wide field unspotted by shadows.

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