Gloomily reflecting on my narrow existence last night (blame the pressure of a new year), I realised something. When physically you are limited, when that monster fatigue is always the one making all the decisions, when you feel you have lost most of yourself, it’s time to choose how you will carry on. Look at the things that sap your energy and reinforce your feelings of inadequacy, and then turn away, towards the people and the activities that you love, that make you feel a bigger person again.
There is one silly problem that I have with that though – I’m told to stop cleaning the house, and start enjoying my family. In all honesty, there are times when peacefully mopping the floor is preferable. That’s the difficulty – cleaning is one thing that I can control, one purpose that nobody else will ever take up (to my satisfaction:/), one commitment that can always be fulfilled.
But when I struggle with the last stretch walking home with my daughter, I know I need to look at what really matters. For her sake.
Outside of poor old me, I recognise that sort of diminishing self in many people: the cruel tragedy of dementia clawing a person away from all they love, the fragility of old age where every day throws a different, disabling body punch knocking them further away from their former selves, the pain of being betrayed, bereaved or abused, the loss of a much-loved career or business. We define ourselves so often by what we have, or what we do, and when those things are threatened, or completely taken away, we become shaky versions of ourselves, with no point of reference to who we are.
But wait! I’m going to tell you who you are now. You are a child of God and you are loved with a love that never leaves and always endures. Through everything. Don’t define yourself using something that will one day fade away. Make it God. Anchor who you are in Him. Why?
Because He will never be a shadow.