In a rare moment of stillness, I looked out my upstairs window. It was late afternoon, the sky was brilliant blue - almost too bright to look at without squinting or a pair of sunglasses. The clouds were scarce but refused to be completely hidden. While I noticed the sky, I also noticed the shadows. The tree branches, bare of leaves, left broken shadows across our neighbor's lawn. The cars parked along the street offered a a sideways slanted, narrow version of themselves on the street beside them. The one that struck me the most, however, was the one our house was casting.
The shadow our house casted on this day, in this minute, reached far. It went past our neighbors house and further on to their neighbor's back yard. Let me assure your our house is not large - its an average sized 1930's colonial on a small lot in a semi-suburb of the capital city. My house had no right to cast a shadow this big. It was clear that the reflection it gave was one of great reach - it longed to break the boundaries drawn by its walls to spread further, fly higher...
Clearly, science tells us that the size of the original object is skewed because of the play of the light. Because of the angle of the sun, and the openness of the barren trees, our house obstructed the streams of light from the sun. Our house blocked the light. The light persisted. The light, this bright light from the sun, persisted over the house and pushed on. It persevered and was able to over shine what was in its way. In the process of this, what is seen is a false perception of what the house truly looks like. It is not a reflection, but rather a projection of what the light wanted it to be. It gave us two pictures - what is true (the house) and what is not true (the shadow).
I thought of the word shadow - and its meaning. Some would say that a shadow is like a reflection - mocking whatever the light is playing upon. Others would say that a shadow is like a covering - something that gives comfort and rest (think: a little baby who has her Mom affectionately nickname her 'my shadow,' or spending time in the shadow of a tree).
I thought about this image in terms of myself. Do I cast a long shadow? Do you? In my perfect (clearly made up) world, the shadow that I would cast would be one of truth; meaning, the shadow itself would be equal in measure to me in that moment. The prophet Isaiah talks about the 'shadow of a great rock in a weary land.' Would I want to be like that? Would I want to be the place where people found refuge when they are weary? Is it my job to cast a long shadow? Job says "As a servant earnestly desires the shadow," meaning, my job as a servant to my King IS to cast a long shadow so I am able to offer a place of rest.... not sure I'm cut out for that one, but if it is what we are called to do, to be????....then I guess we'll have to work on that one.
At the end of my thoughts on this, I realized that I truly desire to be both the shadow caster and the one to rest in a shadow. I want the Son to radiate so brightly that the overflow casts a long, far reaching shadow where people can find a safe, shady place to rest. I want to constantly find myself IN His shadow restoring and recharging and reflecting on how far my own shadow goes. Will you join me there?