There they gather: they are always in our midst.
Sometimes barely discernible in the midst of light bright and laughter present.
Other times, they swirl and sweep unfettered, obscuring our humanity from one another.
Sometimes they are so dense and tangible,
they become barriers to recognise beauty in not only one another, but also in ourselves.
In their insidious mourning dirge, we appear lesser than we are.
They pit me against you, him versus her, that over this: shadows they gather …
And yet the first Light-Bearer came into a time and place of shadows deep.
Where children were chattel and women, disposable.
Where illness too often represented privilege denied and oppression was rampant.
This gentle, tenacious, angry, compassionate, raging teacher, saviour, servant, Holy One
was challenged and pushed, proven wrong, and died living righteously.
Yet that was not shadows’ triumph …
Those who followed in an Easter moment that spans from here to there, now to then,
time unbound, light beckons
In the last two weeks, this country that I call home has had children torn from us in tragedy deep.
In confronting the grief and compassion that manifest,
shadows found their way into our grieving.
When voices held a mirror, challenged a narrative that obscures the universality of horror when children die,
voices threatening loomed.
When light was brought to illumine a humanity that binds us from the prairies to the east and west,
separated by oceans,
grief became a commodity to compare and compete.
Journalists, as is often their fate, rejection they confronted as the social media turns on them becoming weaponised.
And yet in the grief, light shines.
Yet more shadows swirled.
Illness of a soul lost,
in which fear and doubts separate him with misogyny and anger,
racism and division took the wheel of a van and a lethal bludgeon became.
For two kilometers, on a spring day when children should frolic, and elders impart wisdom,
shadows possessed the lost and hurtled against the light …
We live in a place where too easily despair might seize us, isolate us.
This silo culture feeds shadows’ frenzy.
Too easy would it be to let go and become the monsters our screens show us
of zombies charging and aliens invading.
Tempting it is to simply preach that the lost are evil and survivors are entitled.
Yet that first Light-Bearer came
and remains in hands of compassion,
voices of justice,
the mirth of elders years wise
and youth passion bred.
There are no simple solutions or answers,
no sound byte or banner that can dispel shadows when they gather.
To seek right or wrong, us or them, me or you
simply feeds the fury. In the uncertainty,
what was, is, and always shall be clear
is the choices we make,
rather than being swept up by shadowed waves of passively yielding agency.
Hold one another, friends,
nurture the children in your lives to marvel at creations’ diversity,
look into the mirror and know you are something beautiful.
Stand bravely, Kindred Ones, in the places of injustice,
embrace the liberation of solidarity
by letting go of the trappings of illusions that divide.
Sisters stand tall, speak truth and rail,
dance, sing, and be the spark divine you are.
Brothers, be humble in the presence of beauty,
be resilient in the waves that too often deny us
the moments to recognise we are enough.
Into this shadowed journey,
and love unconditionally.