Sunshine and Shadow

There’ll always be elements of sunshine and shadow in our lives, and it’s our perceptions of each that make us happy or miserable.

This morning while walking a few miles at Scott Park, I was again struck with the contrast of sunshine and shadow, just like our lives. Even when you’re walking in the light, there are some things going on that you could notice and complain about. Some people do, loudly and frequently. “It’s hot as heck,” they say, “and my eyes hurt.”  Then you’re in the shadow. It’s good too, but sometimes you’re so busy feeling sorry for yourself that you don’t notice the slight temperature change or the slight breeze that cools your skin.   

Have you got anything good going on right now? Can you walk? Can you see? Did you sleep in a bed last night instead of on the street somewhere? Will you have lunch later today? Sunday morning before going to church, I spent some time watering my plants and flowers. I was lamenting the fact that I’d spent a small fortune on them, and despite my frequent attention, many were dying. Plus, it was almost unbearably hot, and I just wanted to get it over with and scoot inside to the air conditioned comfort. I was also thinking about a lesson I had to teach in a couple of hours, one that I felt a little anxious about. Although I’d spent hours reading and preparing, I still felt inadequate to adequately cover the topic.

Did you see a few good things going on in the above paragraph? There were several. I have an air conditioned home that has some pretty flowers and plants around it. I have running water that enables me to stand and water the petunias and ferns.  I don’t have to go to a well to get it. I have eyes to see not only my yard but all of Mother Nature’s handiwork. I have the opportunity to worship at a church of my choice…and to teach. I don’t live in a country where women’s voices are stifled. Here’s what happened to wake me up from my pouty, self-centeredness. I looked up. That’s it. I looked up and saw the treetops gently moving with the breeze, and beyond them was the bluest sky I’d seen lately…or at least that I’d taken note of. I gulped at the magnificence of the sight and wondered how many just like it I’d missed because I’d been too busy grumbling or looking down.

Hours later and several degrees hotter, I remind myself that I live in the American South, the land of magnolia trees, grits, and beautiful beaches. Hmmm. Makes me want to reread To Kill a Mockingbird.

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

4 thoughts on “Sunshine and Shadow”

  1. the picture of Emma reminds me of the haziness of hot, hot days 🙂 we do have much for which to extremely grateful! You always do find the silver lining 🙂

    Thanks Connie. This was taken late one afternoon, and both Emma and Brooke were helping me. I had sort of a smile in my heart (I know you know that feeling) as I watched and listened to them. They were so serious about doing it just right!

  2. ‎”We can complain that rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice that thorn bushes have roses” Abe Lincoln

    I was bemoaning my awful clinical day at the hospital when I noticed the activity in the hallway; physical therapy was working with a youngish stroke victim who was struggling to propel a regular wheelchair with his foot. He was sweating and grimacing, and making frustrated grunts.
    Can’t complain anymore.

    You're MUCH more spiritually advanced that most of the young adults I know, and I think you're in the perfect profession for you.

  3. I never realized that it was possible for teachers to feel inadequately prepared 🙂

    Ha Ha. It seems that when you have to teach religious topics, you feel even more on shaky ground. There's almost always someone who knows tons more than you do, and she's often sitting right there on the front row.

  4. i do know what it is like to be inadequately prepared and i am a teacher

    Putzy, the topic was the priesthood, and I'd probably spent six or seven hours reading and studying, and yet I still felt a little anxious.

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