Shadows are always there. The shadow of pain is like your shadow. Sometimes it is small and hard to find and then at other times it is a giant as tall as a tree. It is a constant companion that accompanies you. If you go fast it is just as fast. If you go slow it is slow. When you stop it stops. It matches you. When you are in the deepest valley your shadow is there. When at the heights of the highest mountain it is there also.
I never thought that the pain would shadow you. I would expect the pain would be there when I am low and downcast. I would expect it on birthdays, holidays, and death days. But not on the good days. The happy days. The fun days. The shadow is always there.
I remember when I first realized my shadow was always there. It was a revelation really. It was more than two years after James. I was teaching. This would almost seem insignificant except for the profound revelation that was revealed in this small event in time. The soccer team was going to the state finals. This is a major achievement for any team. And our school would celebrate the send off. The marching band assembled. They sounded a fighting song. The entire school of students, teachers and parents blanketed the parking lot at the front. The charter bus of the soccer team pulled into the driving lane. The cheers went up. There is excitement. Celebration. I was caught up in this moment. There was something so exciting and celebrative. There was a chemistry about this. Sometimes these things are just show and everyone is there because they are there. But not this. The majority were into it. There was elation in this moment. Drew Scism and his mother are close by. I am very aware of his presence. At the highest point of elation and celebration, the shadow of pain is there. I didn’t recognize the shadow. But afterwards, as I am walking quickly ahead of the mass of students and hurrying to my class, I am choking down the tears. I am searching to control the emotion. I could not understand why the shadow would be there. And the revelation is revealed that the shadow never leaves. Never and always. It is a sting that stung when unexpected. I was unguarded because I did not know that the shadow could sting in a good moment. And the sting stung and the shadow shadowed in a bright moment. And I knew and know that the shadow can be large in the brightest of moments.
Shadows are a place to hide. Sometimes I hide in my shadow of pain. There is a comfort there. A place to lose myself. The shadow draws me in and I can escape away from everything. I do not know if it is healthy or right but the shadow is inviting and I get lost in the shadow of pain. It does allow for me to deal with the pain and suffering. The suffering that was witnessed is great and needs to be dealt with. The shadows allow for this. But it is selfish and I think of no one else. Reality brings me back.
There is a light to cast away shadows. The darkness of the shadow of pain can be dark and consuming but the light casts away the shadows. And I do not have to hide in the shadows for comfort. I learn to love the light. I learn to walk in the light. The shadow is always there looming to darken my thoughts and mind and heart but the light can always be found. Jesus is the light that shines and casts away the shadows. But some times I get lost and I forget the light and then I remember and run to the light that shines and I am rescued and can see clearly. God gives this. And I love that rescue is provided to help bring me out of dark moments.
There is coming a time when the shadow will be cast away. The light will be so great that all shadows are gone. There is coming a time when there will be no more darkness, no more shadows. True light casts away all darkness, all shadows. Separation no longer and forever in the true light.
I look forward to this. But until then I have to walk with the shadow of pain as it matches me and follows me. And I walk not alone but with the light that shines.