The Pastor's Blog


Our recent trip out west took us through some wide open spaces.  If you have travelled out that way, you know what I mean.  For hundreds of miles, we travelled roads that were relatively flat and straight with only a few gently rolling hills blanketed by a dome of azure sky.  With little to do other than hold the wheel straight and the speed steady (80 mph speed limits were fun!), I enjoyed taking in the scenery and letting my mind wander.

About halfway across Kansas, I began to notice the patches of shadow cast by a few clouds.  As I looked at them I noticed something I had not really considered before.  Clouds leave cloudprints.  I could see the line between light and shadow.  The shapes of the clouds were clearly drawn on the landscape. 

I know we have clouds here and they likely leave the same patterns of shadow when viewed from above.  But in the forested territory and varied topography of the Appalachian foothills in which we live, we rarely see the transition line from light to dark.  It strikes me that it is convenient to have the ability to see the exact footprint of the clouds.

Metaphorically speaking, what if we could see clearly where the shadows of the clouds of life begin and end?  What if we could see them coming and could prepare ourselves?  What if we could see where we would re-enter the light?  What if we can see the fullness of the shadows in which others are living in any given moment?  How would this ability to see the cloudprints in life change our perspective?  Would we be better off to see the bigger picture?  Would we be better friends and church family if we could appreciate more fully the depth of the shadows in which others are living?
I think it would be really helpful.  Of course that isn’t how life works.  To reframe an old saying, “We can’t see the cloudprints for the trees.”  Our lives are crowded with so many things and the landscape is ever-changing.  We rarely know when we are entering a shadow and we certainly can’t see where the light is shining.  And we have a hard enough time even seeing other people much less appreciating the depth of darkness in which they are living.

As I drove and pondered, I was reminded of an old African proverb that says, “The shadow proves the sunshine.”  Regardless of the outline of shadow on the ground, the sun was still shining in the sky.  Even when we recently saw the moon pass in front of the moon, the sun was still shining.  Seeing the cloudprints reminded me that the clouds have limits and are being carried along by the winds.  They are literally passing away.  The light and energy of the sun is constant.  The sun is always shining.  Sometimes we need the cloudprints to prove it.