It was a glorious morning; the sky was blue and the sun shining. On the half-open dining-room door was a distinct, but unfamiliar, shadow. The pattern of vertical bars was clearly the window blind, but where were all the leaves from? The room overlooks the drive. In front of the window stands a broad spread of agapanthus but these were not agapanthus leaves.
By the corner of the window, a lonely buddleia has poked its’ head through a crack in the driveway concrete. Clinging to the wall it just creeps around the window’s edge. From the drive it is clearly visible, yet barely noticed from inside the house. This morning, at this hour, the sun was angled to stream through. For a short moment, a garden weed took on the appearance of a forest of leafy shrubs – a moment of unexpected glory.
Shadows are funny things. As the sun moves across the sky, shadows come and go; tall trees cast short shadows, small plants cast long ones, a lonely buddleia stem became, for a brief moment, a tropical forest. Shadows cast fleeting, distorted images; but behind the image always lies a truth. The challenge is to discern that truth. The truth that morning was that the sun gave the buddleia a moment of glory, casting a bold and exotic image to brighten breakfast; the shadow had a reach far beyond the plant’s physical stretch.
Much of the time we see shadows without a thought. It is only when an unfamiliar shadow is cast into a familiar place that we might pause to think. I know my house; I know there are no leafy plants on the window sill; I knew then that I was seeing something from an unusual angle. Shadows are often seen as a place to hide. This shadow was a revelation, a reminder that in the right light we can reach out further than we can ever imagine.
What glories does your shadow hide; where might it reach in the right light?
Rev Philip Payne
The Notice Sheet for 8 August 2021 can be found here