‘”‘All truth is shadow except the last truth. But all truth is substance in its own place, though it be but shadow in another place. And the shadow is a true shadow, and the substance is a true substance.'”

“I like that,” said Sally. “It leads one on and on. Who said that?”

“Isaac Pennington. How I do run on, dear! It’s old age. And I want to show you the linen cupboard.”‘

(Pilgrim’s Inn, by Elizabeth Goudge)


It is strange how much love can be held in a little structure of glass and metal. It is even stranger how easy it is to stop seeing it.

The terrarium has hung over my bookcase for months now, a shining reminder of my husband’s love. But over time it has melted into the fabric of our home, so familiar and comfortable that it’s become at times invisible. I forget it is there, until something reminds me. . . candlelight, or, like tonight, the glow of a New Mexico sunset.

It wasn’t the substance that drew my gaze, but the shadow of it. . . there on the wall, rich with the colors of the sky.

The shadow.


Robert is on the other side of the world right now. . . his today is my tomorrow and he is falling asleep at night as I am waking up in the morning. And while I truly have never felt any major shift in our lives, that abrupt end of the ‘honeymoon’ phase that was supposed to happen one day, I have realized in these quiet days of his absence that I have lost sight of something precious since the early months of our marriage. I’ve grown so accustomed to the beauty of life that I’ve stopped seeing it in the bright places where I once saw it so clearly.

I’m finding it again, now, in the shadows of his absence — in the scent of cedarwood and the vastness of a queen size bed. And the shadow of a glass case in the sunset, saying ‘This is the bright love you’ve been given. . . see its shadow on the wall? Feel its flutters within, growing ever stronger and more insistent?’


Yes, my eyes are weak, and sometimes I need the shadow to remind me of the substance. But so do we all, because we are human. And God knows this.

I was writing lesson plans this evening for the language arts class I strive to teach, and as I wrote I pondered how very many shadows God casts for us in Genesis. We’ve seen the substance so many times — Christ, dead and raised — that sometimes our eyes are blinded and we must see in a glass darkly to see at all. And so God shows us the ram caught in the brambles and the king of Salem serving wine and bread and over and over the shadows dance so that the substance may glow again in our minds.


The sunset has long since faded, but tonight, there is a candle glowing behind the glass walls of his love, casting shadows that remind me the substance is real.

Posted in Insert, Really truly adventures, Thoughts, Writing in photos | Leave a Note