Candyfloss clouds in a blue winter sky
almost racing in the wind.
I gaze upwards at their passing.
What if I could reach up, pull some off and eat it?
Then maybe there would be less shadows…
My mind (Sally’s) goes off in odd directions at times but reading this reflection has made me think about the shadows in life. These past few days one of the shadows has re-emerged with a lot of discussion on social media about the role of women in Christian contexts. I lament the way that women’s voices are not heard in all the places and all the ways they might be. I lament expedient political decisions that are made which leave a shadow over many of us. I lament the shadows that mean that men and women cannot always work together in ways which are life-giving and life-enhancing. I lament the shadows which mean that in many places around the world the birth of a girl is not a cause for joy but sadness. So many shadows which touch my life as a woman and so much sadness that in part my faith and those that share my faith have exacerbated these shadows for me. I have so many stories from my young adulthood onwards where being both a woman and a Christian came with rather a lot of baggage that sought to squeeze me into a mold which wasn’t really Sally shaped. It has probably taken thirty years to get past some of these early experiences…
I rejoice though in the many wonderful Christian women I know whose passion, creativity, innovation, commitment, perseverance, compassion and resilience have brought sunshine into my life and the lives of so many others.
I know that shadows are always a part of life and I don’t want to eliminate them as I have also grown and learnt through the shadows and without shadows we don’t get the rain, the shade, some of the good things we need for life to flourish. But I will continue to work for a world where shadows of oppression, or persecution, or prejudice are replaced by the sunshine of a world where encouragement, acceptance and inclusion are what are more frequently found.