Carol talks about her fear of the shadows and the rays of sunlight that demonstrate the provision of God’s protection.
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Raised in Saskatoon
I am a city girl, born and raised in Saskatoon. Not a huge city in comparison to many around the world but as a young girl it seemed big but everything appears larger than life to a five or six year old.
When I started kindergarten, it was not part of the school system yet. The private kindergarten I attended was a short three block walk from my house, right across from the playground I often frequented on hot summer afternoons. But during the Christmas break that year; my teacher moved herself and the school to a larger home across the river that divides our beautiful city. No longer could I walk. My mother did not drive. My father worked long hours as a truck driver. I did what had to be done in order to continue going to kindergarten. I learned to take the city bus across the city. Life was different back in the late fifties. Was it a more trusting time, a safer time? Maybe it was for I never worried about getting from my home to my teacher’s place.
My grandmother lived down that same street from the kindergarten but too far for a little girl to walk. But the bus took me right to her place, stopping just across the street and not a busy one either. I loved going to grandma’s house and many days my mother allowed me to ride the bus to her place rather than come straight home. Oh how special those times were.
One early summer day my mother and grandmother made a plan. I could ride the bus all the way from our place to grandma’s house. I would need to transfer but I could do that close to my kindergarten house so I knew just where to go. My mom packed a little bag for me so I could stay overnight. I was so happy. I don’t remember the shadow of fear being anywhere in my consciousness. Mom also gave me five pennies in a little change purse, in case I forgot to get a transfer.
Shadows in my Mind
I walked to the bus stop. I got on the bus, just like I did for kindergarten. I remembered to ask for a transfer. I rode through downtown and across the bridge where I got off at my usual stop, walked half a block and waited for the next bus. It came but did not stop. Fifteen minutes went by and the next bus arrived but again did not stop. I felt shadows in my mind and heart in spite of the sunny day and the adventure I was on. I began to walk toward my grandmothers and stopped at another bus stop to wait. I knew my transfer would no longer be good and got out my little purse with its five precious pennies – the cost of a bus ride. The bus came but did not stop for me.
I remember standing there and crying. I knew both my mother and grandmother would be worried. Then a lady came out of the house behind me and asked me what was wrong. She waited beside me until the next bus came. It stopped. I made it safely to my destination and the shadows of doubt and fear lifted when I received a warm hug from my grandmother.
Looking back I am sure the bus drivers who did not stop thought I was a little girl running away from home but God protected me but not as quickly as I might have liked.
I continued to ride the bus to church, to youth and later to university. As a young girl and even a teenager, coming home by bus, at night, especially in the dark of winter, from a church activity I hated if I missed the first stop I could get off at. Only one block later a second opportunity to get off the bus and walk home meant a walk of the same distance but a different route.
This second option always seemed scarier to me. The shadows between street lights appeared deeper and more threatening. A park across the street had deeper shadows yet, cast by the tall trees. Tall trees lined both sides of the street in front of my home, their branches reaching together in the middle of the street. The street lights glow barely cut through the gloom of the late fall or winter evening because of the tangle of branches.
Shadows formed part of my route home. Nothing bad ever happened. Neighbours knew each other and watched out for the children of the community. Yet my imagination played tricks as the shadows danced in the beams of light.
Now, I hate the thought of my teenage grandchildren riding the bus around the city. Maybe it is simply my fear of the shadows, the scary parts of life.
Times of Light and Shadow
I have grown up, moved around and lived in various communities. I have experienced times of light and shadow and the shadows still frighten me, especially those caused by the darkness of a tough time. These are real, not figments of my imagination like the ones when I walked home beside the park.
I have watched my children struggle with childhood injury, illness and growing pains both physical and emotional. I have wondered if I might really get my next breath when the asthma is at its worst and walk with my husband through a battle with cancer. There have been dark days, tear filled days and times of anger at the unfairness of life at that moment. But along with those hard memories come ones where I see God’s provision. There have been times He has provided someone to walk alongside and encourage, or answered prayer in an unexpected manner. The shadows of death and destruction, the shadows of hurt and frustration, and the shadows of uncertainty as we pray and long for a positive outcome, a ray of light and hope touch each one of us. Yet the shadows have pinpricks of light and hope.
How has God brought a ray of sunshine into your shadows?
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential. She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren. Visit her website carolscorner.ca
Images Courtesy Of:
City Bus – StockSnap
Trees & Shadows – jplenio