We don’t have four legs but we certainly do have shadows and they are with us now on Groundhog’s Day. As they are by our side every day. In sickness and in health. For richer or for poorer. Tagging along until death do we part from our shadows. I’m typing with my shadow right now. But that’s okay. It’s the only way I could find these words:
Our shadows are, in their own way, a simple reflection of the light, the place where the light makes it clear that it is with us, unmistakably telling us that we are not alone. Even when there is nobody else in sight, the light is always there. Always. Standing right there in our shadow.
Don’t be fooled—our shadows are not darkness. From our shadows we have nothing to fear. Our shadows are a product of our experiences throughout a lifetime. Their interplay with the light makes us who we are. Each of our shadows is entirely unique. Like a fingerprint. Or snowflake.
Darkness is something else entirely.
But do not be afraid. The light surrounds our shadows in its protective embrace. Warms them—even on the coldest of winter’s most bitter days.
Darkness would prefer that we absolutely did believe our shadows to be darkness, but our shadows belong entirely to the light. How do we know that? Simple: darkness cannot cast a shadow. Only light can.
And our shadows have the ability to do what darkness never can: make us smile.
Hiking Flat Top Mountain outside Bedford, Virginia on a December afternoon, my wife, Kim, and I watched the sun, which was immediately behind us, cast our shadows nearly 100 yards further down the descending trail. Our shadows made us look like giants. I waved my hiking stick in the air like a sky-scraping Gandalf. Had we been in Middle Earth, all of the orcs would have fled.
There is so much light in two shadows walking side by side, two shadows embracing, two shadows saying, “I love you.” There is an abundance of light, too, in one shadow walking alone—but not alone—feeling God say, “I love you always. Keep walking. I am here.”
Darkness is afraid of the light. Like the groundhog, darkness fears its own shadow. If darkness were to see its shadow, it would mean that it has seen the light. Darkness fears that most of all. Why? Because even darkness could not remain dark amid such a light. The “wintering” of the world would fade away. Something much more than spring would come right there and then because darkness would surely see no alternative but surrender.
Some day, perhaps, it shall.