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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shadow or Shade?

It is sometimes amusing to contemplate words that have the same root, and the same properties, but to which we ascribe different meanings. For example, consider the two words shadow and shade. Both are exactly the same thing; i.e. a dark area, figure or image cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light. And yet somehow the two words take on different meanings in the way we use them. Consider the following two sentences.

The heat from the sun is uncomfortable, so the man steps into the shade of the tree. Sounds comforting, doesn’t it?

How about, Will you remain hesitant in the shadows of your fears? Somehow that does not sound so reassuring.

As an experiment, what if we were to substitute one word for the other?

The heat from the sun is uncomfortable so the man steps into the shadow of the tree. Hmmm…it sounds just slightly spooky doesn’t it? Stepping into the shadow could be a line from a bad, gothic novel of some kind; like a precursor to something sinister happening. Stepping into the shade sounds comfortable, but stepping into the shadow could make one feel slightly uneasy.

What about the other sentence? What if we were to say,
Will you remain hesitant in the shade of your fears? Does it change the meaning? Does it suggest the possibility that we might be deliberately hesitating to step from the relative comfort or security of the predictable shade into the brightness of the noon-day sun, even though it is a shade provided by fear? Does it perhaps suggest preferring the shade of the known rather than the uncertainty of the unknown?

Its an interesting play on words, don’t you think? Shadow and shade are exactly the same except for the meaning we ascribe to them.

Okay, enough word play. Its time to restore the words to their original context, which includes both a promise and a question. Lets read the promise and ask ourselves the question.

When our willingness to live in sacred community as Christ’s new creation exceeds our natural fear of spiritual and relational transformation, we will become who we are called to be. Will we remain hesitant in the shadows of our fears, insecurities, and competing loyalties? Or will we move forward in the light of our divinely instilled call and vision?
(Adapted from D. & C. 164:9b, e)

What shall we do?

Posted by Carman


  1. This is such a lovely good word. Thank you.

    On a side note regarding [Note to self: refrain from real retirement awhile longer!] How much longer can we persuade you to refrain from said "real retirement?" :)

  2. Just a tiny note to let the folks out there know that "real retirement" is indeed on the horizon. You have the real date on your calendar, so don't be expecting much beyond that :-)

    (And I'm presuming you meant the good word "neighbour"?)

  3. I did mean neighbour. I have no idea how that comment wound up here. Must be some shadow running across the neighbourhood!

    As for the other, one can always hope!


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