Shadows Moving In and Out

“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.” (Ruth E. Renkel). No one can exist without shadows. I can guess what your life shadows are, what makes the corners of your mouth turn down, adds a lump to your stomach and a hole to your heart. I have similar shadows because we are both human. No one escapes sad difficult times; relationship issues, job loss, abuse, death, disease, betrayal and on and on. The shadows can become so dark we find it very hard to believe there is “light somewhere nearby.”Where can we find the light Ms. Renkel faithfully suggests? Nobel Prize winner for literary excellence, Francois Muriac, sheds a little ‘light’ with this quote: “No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.” Let’s take the quote a little further to proclaim that difficult outcomes leave marks too but if we decide to look for the positive in our difficult situation, it very well can lead us to the light we need to move from the shadow. We then find we have become stronger and more equipped to heal ourselves. When we experience healing we find within ourselves a deeper compassion toward others.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” Mother Teresa’s quote sounds confusing but when we examine it more closely we find that she is describing God’s perfect love. As we grow in relationship with him, as did Mother Teresa, God’s indwelling spirit enables us to find supernatural forgiveness and joy. The journey out of the shadow can be long and torturous filled with doubt and anger. But if we persist, we find ourselves forgiving the offender and often moving toward a deeper love as Mother Teresa suggests.It seems to me when faced with difficulties we have two options: 1-to think of ourselves as a victim or 2-to use the circumstance for growth. William A. Ward, author of Fountains of Faith states, “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” I had the opportunity to come alongside people whose world seemed to end when tragedy hit; a teenage son died by suicide, three family members died in a fatal plane crash, a toddler was run over accidentally by his own father, four pregnancies in a row all ending in stillbirth, a baby murdered by a boyfriend, a child hit by a train are certainly circumstances that could cause men and women to break.In my capacity as Bereavement Coordinator, we developed a team of caregivers that came along side these families and followed them up for years afterward. The ones who refused to become bitter found that the upward climb actually made them better people, more compassionate, willing to help others in need. Some even develop organizations like Candy Lightner, who founded Mothers against drunk drivers. Those who chose not to move in their grief ended up lonely, isolated, angry and bitter.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
In my experience, I noticed that those who became more wise and tender hosted similar belief systems i.e. they all believed there was purpose in their suffering, they all believed in a personal God who would help them, they all faced their feelings and brought them out to look at them honestly, they all looked and found a support system, they all found exercising important, they all courageously found ways to teach others about their grieving thoughts and feelings. They all looked for ways to help others, they all found comfort in their memories; they all found a way to use the energy of grieving to help others and celebrate the life of their loved one. They all lived a life of gratitude. Of course, their lives still have bumps and shadows and always will that’s the nature of this world. But watching them, interacting with them and having relationship with them prove to me that it is possible to move in and out of shadows growing stronger and more equipped after each one.