Submitted by Josh White
Eph 5:14 “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Kick up the fire, and let the flames break loose
To drive the shadows back - Philip Larkin
I stand on the sidewalk at dusk, a long shadow of me rushes East stretched out like some bizarre apparition. 20 feet of legs, 4 feet of fingers, oblong head and stretched torso. As I walk, I find its presence unnerving – disproportionate and without substance, like some strange projection of my ego if it was solid.
This shadow, the shadow me, is the lie of me, the dark me. It is the me that can do nothing for anyone or anything, but merely bury everything it touches in darkness. It is the me that is blown out of proportion with visions of grandeur and self-proclaimed self-importance. I do not like this shadow as it stretches out from me.
I am disturbed, like Nosferatu, it is grotesque, this monster me. I turn around and confront the sun. Face to face I recognize, as long as he is before me I have the power to hide him from the world that is behind me. As I stare down the Sun, I peek over my shoulder and see that the shadow me is gaining ground.
What is better, the lie or the light?
I stare back at the Sun, he is losing as his yellow goes red, he sinks beyond the horizon. Darkness falls. Both Sun and shadow gone, the night has come. The shadow me is now all of me and with regret I pray that the Sun would rise.
In the dark the heart goes cold. I hear the ancient prophet cry, “Woe to us, for the day declines, for the shadows of evening lengthen.” This dark is as expansive as it is claustrophobic. I see nothing, not even the lie of me.
Suddenly hands clasp down on me, I gasp as I am flung. I feel the hard, dark, earth beneath my back. I, like a scrapper, exchange blows with a man of the night. There is no light here, just our furious tears and our grappling fears. These hours pass relentless. I think I might overcome but in one moment I am out of socket and undone. I find myself desperately clinging like a drowning man to my enemy.
Crying, “Bless me!” “Bless me!” “I will not let go, I have nowhere to go, and nothing to give.”
As dawn breaks in, my opponent in Holy love, silhouetted by the rising Sun, releases me from the shadow me, and names me before he leaves. I never knew how heavy shadows could be. As the Sun rises above I am exposed but do not care, for everything seems different now. It is the lightness of light and the fury of flame. This world seems kissed with meaning and my heart burns with wonder. Illuminated by the divine defeat, broken but released, I am now open to this fellowship of the burning heart!