Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
8:18

Long shadows

Long shadows

I am in the middle of a long swig of now lukewarm tea from my thermos when the reminder on my phone sounds. This makes me wonder how often I’ll be standing in my kitchen at 8:18AM on any given day.

So I look out of the front window to see long, dramatic shadows across the lawn of my neighbor. I decide to don my heavy coat and brave the cold to get a photo of one. The grip of cold surprises me. Snow squeaks under each footfall.

I love the game of hyperbole that the sun plays on objects at this hour of a winter’s day, drawing the shade of a mighty tree from a commonplace bush. It’s a simple trick of low-angled light. But it’s an impressive trick, nonetheless.

Lately, I’ve been wondering why past mistakes seem to still throw their shadows across my mind from time to time. Out of nowhere, one will come unbidden into my thoughts and vex me. Why are our memories like that? How can such snarling lions be permitted to run loose? Who keeps watch over their cages? Wait – was that my job?

But then, perhaps they’re not lions. Perhaps I am flinching in the exaggerated shadows of mere kittens. And the solution is simply to let the sun rise high enough in my life, past and present, to give them the puny shadows they deserve.

Take to the sky, O Sun of my soul, and give all things their proper size and importance. I don’t ask you to help me forget my moments of foolishness, but to be able to laugh at them. Let them be reminders of my need for you. And of how unconditional your great love is.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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