There is one place along our street where the shadows across the sidewalk look so real that—even knowing they are shadows—my feet pause. They look like metal bars across the concrete.
Walking rough collie Savannah at night presents me with an intimate introduction to neighborhood shadows. That bulky man at the corner watching the street and everything that passes—nothing more than two signs a short distance apart that meld together into a menacing form. The guy who is always at work at the back of a parked trailer—actually a large plastic chute from scaffolding and a black trash bag at the end that blows in the wind. And that big dog that I expect to bark at us—really an overturned trash bin next to an empty planter.
Under the covering of darkness with street lights punching holes in the night—neighborhood shadows look real. Some look intimidating. Some look menacing. Some—like the hedgehog that never moves—look interesting. But whatever the size and shape of the shadows, one fact remains; they are not real. No matter how intimidating, no shadow will roar into life and shout. No matter how menacing, no shadow will attack. No matter how interesting, no shadow will lead to an intriguing adventure like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Shadows are illusions. They. Are. Not. Real.
Shadows fascinate me. They play a predominate role in my book “Fear of Shadows,” and the first three books I wrote all have the word “shadows” in the titles. Shadows are deceptive. Some folks go through life fleeing from shadow to shadow.
If we remember that this earth is not our home and we are merely pilgrims passing through and if we do not fear death—shadows lose their ability to haunt us.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” Psalm 23 declares.
Shadows are not real. God is real.