There’s nothing quite like being in a hospital ward to remind us we are caught in the shadow between life and death, hope and despair, as subject as the seasons to alteration and change, with death, disease and decay sitting in our mortal frames.
If we stop and think about it, then we realise how each day, each breath is but a gift. And even if every moment we live slides us closer to the grave, and a dark shadow of sin already exists as a blight over our lives, we are brought alive to the Light in a whole new way by God’s great mercy and grace.
Our part is to live with a mindful awareness, a grateful acceptance, a heart willing to surrender to whatever each new day will bring, a mind able to make room for Mystery within the mundane and a spirit ready to engage with our Creator-God.
Because if we can sit comfortably within this shadow land and make peace with our circumstances, we can begin to learn what God is teaching us right here, right now. Life lessons form the warp and weft of each happening—every thing is speaking to us, if only we make time to heed it and have receptive ears to listen well.
“Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; your rod [to protect] and your staff [to guide] , they comfort me” ~ Psalm 23:4 (Amplified Bible Classic Edition)
Life’s forest shadow
A cool lake mist spray whispers
blue dress of death, smooth as
loving rain on skin. And when
we trudge through life’s forest shadow
recalling dreams diamond like spring
wind plays sweetest rose symphony
singing like lazy sky sleep, but we
want time to shine our light beneath
Life’s fire embrace
We cannot always live long
in this cool, fool universe
A vast open sky eternity
lies like a sacred time-kiss
warm and moist with God’s velvet
healing peace, and night is
broken by Life’s fire embrace
I am so thankful God gives us opportunity to experience new life, and renewed hope, any time we choose to turn to Him. He knows the dark shadows we live under and makes provision for our every need, both here and in eternity.
“We are subjected to every kind of hardship, but never distressed; we see no way out but never despair; we are pursued but never cut off; knocked down, but still have some life in us; always we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may be visible in our… mortal flesh” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 (New Jerusalem Bible)
How is life’s shadow side speaking to you?
What helps you to see and sense God’s Light shining through?
A simple mantra of “Jesus conquers…. Jesus saves” (gleaned from reading ‘God Calling – A Devotional Diary’) is currently giving me renewed courage when life’s dark shadow of discouragement hangs over my days. You might like to try it too. 🙂
16 thoughts on “shadow: caught in the shadow between life and death”
I’m so sorry for all this trouble in your lives, Joy. How is your husband doing? I hope he is improving and not failing. What a privilege when we may know God’s mercy and grace. I love both of your poems. They sound kind of melancholy and yet clinging to hope. May God give us His “velvet healing peace!”
Trudy, you perceptively guessed my poetic intentions through the dark shadows, because both of these things: “They sound kind of melancholy and yet clinging to hope.” are— hopefully for the second one, especially—true. My husband is still on flat-tilted 10 degrees downwards bed-rest, hoping to have his drain removed tomorrow and begin to very slowly start sitting up a bit soon. Improvements are coming in tiny increments but are treasured, nevertheless! I’m planning to visit tomorrow afternoon. Life at home feels so strange without him. Our hope and prayer is for recovery to continue without further complications, and that full healing of the patch sealing his frayed spinal nerves will take place. Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and prayers! xo
“each day, each breath…a gift.” Kneeling alongside, reaching with you for “God’s velvet” hem.
Laurie, I feel privileged to have your company in the “kneeling alongside, reaching…for God’s velvet hem” together, because we both need His healing touch for our menfolk, and a reminder to keep breathing ourselves. It’s something that seems hard to do sometimes, until God points out how we’re holding our breath—breathing fast in the shallow sphere of fear instead of inhaling slow, deep draughts of grace—and we can begin to relax our grip on anxiety and live from a place of faith. Praying for you and yours in the days and weeks ahead. May you know yourselves to be held firm by a Love that will not let you go, infusing courage and strength just when you need it. Rich blessings to you, dear friend. xo
A continent apart and yet . . . sharing moments of bowed knees and lifted hearts for our menfolk—what a profound privilege and partnership.
Amen, my friend! Laurie, I’m rejoicing with you as recovery takes place and we begin to see a degree of improvement in our husbands’ state. May you both continue to know how much you are held by arms of Love and grace, and linked hearts across the pond. Blessings, love and prayers to you and yours. xo ❤
Dear Joy, Oh my friend, I am so sorry for the deep difficulty that these days carry for you and your husband. So while I am praying continually for God’s Grace to cover you, I am finding His Grace here with me also. The valley of death is much nearer this week, as I found out on Friday that a friend of mine just passed over into that “vast open sky eternity.” But what comfort our Lord brings to us, even as your words washed over me:
“recalling dreams diamond like spring
wind plays sweetest rose symphony
singing like lazy sky sleep,”
And I know she is singing such a beautiful symphony now, indeed playing the piano again that her arthritic fingers stilled for so many years here. Thank you for sharing from the deep places the very words that God is giving to you now. You are so generous with the Gifts that His Spirit pours on you. May He Bless you daily with more healing and more strength. Much Love and Hugs! xoxo
Dear Bettie, oh how hard it is when our friends and loved ones are lost to us in the valley of death! I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s passing. These things make us feel the sting of loss so acutely. It’s humbling to think these poems penned in a dark place have actually brought some comfort to your soul as you mourn. God knew just when you would see them and how you would interpret the words here. Thank you for seeing beauty arising from the ashes, for gleaning hope from darkness and being able to trace our Lord’s hand in everything. You are a precious friend to me and I’m so grateful for those gifts you have of gentleness, kindness, insight and encouragement, as well as the faithful prayers you offer up. Much love and gentle hugs! xoxo
Reblogged this on Pastor Michael Moore's Blog and commented:
Wisdom for the journey through the shadows from my Sister, Joy Lenton
Michael, I am humbly grateful for the way you see wisdom in this post and for your kindness in sharing my words with your readers. Bless you, friend! ❤
THIS: “We are brought alive to the Light in a whole new way by God’s great mercy and grace.” It’s interesting how light and dark parallel in our lives.
I agree, Tara, our lives are always shaded while we inhabit earthly frames, and yet they have such opportunity to warm to the Light of God’s presence within and without. xo
for healing, we pray…
Thank you, Nancie, and “Amen!” to your words, my friend. xo
So beautifully written, and so true: “Our part is to live with a mindful awareness, a grateful acceptance, a heart willing to surrender to whatever each new day will bring, a mind able to make room for Mystery within the mundane and a spirit ready to engage with our Creator-God.” Thank you for sharing. Sending you and yours my prayers.
Deborah, your sweet empathy with my words, kind encouragement and prayers are all greatly appreciated. Thank you, friend! xo