I’m in the middle of my Spring Break.  The holiday is questionably titled, since the calendar says it’s still winter.  Thankfully, though, the weather has graciously cooperated.  

I’m taking full advantage—avoiding all unnecessary planning, doing a few chores here and there, dropping by a few favorite shops, walking Huckleberry the dog, and pretending my kids are on their break too (even though theirs isn’t for another 10 days or so).  For better or worse, I can’t bring myself to take homework duty too seriously this week.

I’ve also had opportunities for long, lingering conversations with a few friends—something my work schedule doesn’t usually allow.  A sort of friendship-feast, if you will, that included coffee, laughter, and a blessed absence of the distractions that come with children (though we do love 'em!). 

What makes me so grateful for these relationships is the opportunity to reflect on the brighter spots in our lives as well as our passages through shadowy places.  You know . . . grey seasons, when melancholy persists even though there’s no logical reason for it.   

This is the stretch of the road that I’ve found myself writing about quite a bit lately.  Part of me has been hesitant to do that . . . almost feeling like I should apologize for being not-perky-enough.  

The past day's conversations, though, made me rethink that instinct.

Something happens in me when I’m reminded that I’m not the only one who knows less-than-sparkling days.  As one of my friends said, such exchanges are a blessed reminder that we’re not alone as we lean into the not-yet.

And this is precisely why I’m compelled to write of my own experiences in the shadows. 

Being surrounded by stories of victory, completion, resolution, fulfillment is a blessing, but it can also trigger no small amount of angst.  It's not that I don't believe these stories to be true.  Nor is it that I don't want to celebrate them.  Quite the contrary:  such stories bolster my faith, offering a glimpse of a loving God palpably weaving His mercy into the lives of those I love.  Hearing my friends tell of their experiences is no small honor; celebrating alongside them is, I believe, a sacred act.

Even still, there's a fearful loneliness that comes with thinking I’m the only one whose view is eclipsed by clouds from time to time.  But when I recognize a similar shade of grey in a friend's experiences, there comes a deep comfort that I find equally sacred.

For me, hearing and sharing the stories of shadow-wandering brings profound solace, even healing.  Not because of a bolt of insight, or a pearl of wisdom.  

No, not at all. 

Instead, comfort comes in the welcome reminder that I'm not alone.  That we are not alone.  That these heaven-bound journeys do, after all, call for us to make our way through an earthly existence that is, by definition, imperfect.  

That the grey is not an indictment, but something to be expected.

So, if sharing my own not-yet moments allows even one beam of Hope-light to fall on someone else’s path, if it allows another shadow-wanderer to know the wonder of peace . . . well, then it’s well worth the risk.


We are not defeated,
but we are surrounded by troubles;
we do not give up hope,
but we are confused, perplexed, frustrated;
We are not destroyed,
but the ache is real.
God does not leave us,
but we do taste the torment of the earth-life.

We are earthenware jars, 
common, fragile.
But His light shines in our hearts,
relentlessly, perpetually, unfailingly.


  1. Yes. I understand that tug-and-pull of the joys and sorrows seen in others and yet somehow through it all we RE-discover all of us are connected in all of it...even in those lonely places we feel so isolated and scared.

    Friendship Feast....I love that!

  2. Lindsey--It is a tug and pull, isn't it?
    Thanks so much for visiting!!
    Anne / shadowwonder


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