In this life it seems to me we are faced with a choice: to ride the sun or cower in shadow. I thought of this a lot after reading a portion of Psalm 39 in the Liturgy of the Hours one morning.
Man passes away, like a shadow. ~ Psalm 39
In his commentary on the Psalms The Treasury of David Charles Spurgeon wrote the following about this passage from Psalm 39:4-7.
Surely every man walketh in a vain shew. Life is but a passing pageant. This alone is sure, that nothing is sure. All around us shadows mock us; we walk among them, and too many live for them as if the mocking images were substantial; acting their borrowed parts with zeal fit only to be spent on realities, and lost upon the phantoms of this passing scene. Worldly men walk like travelers in a mirage, deluded, duped, deceived, soon to be filled with disappointment and despair.
Surely they are disquieted in vain. Men fret, and fume, and worry, and all for mere nothing. They are shadows pursuing shadows, while death pursues them. He who toils and contrives, and wearies himself for gold, for fame, for rank, even if he wins his desire, finds at the end of his labour lost; for like the treasure of the miser’s dream, it all vanishes when the man awakes in the world of reality. Read well this text, and then listen to the clamour of the market, the hum of the exchange, the din of the city streets, and remember that all this noise (for so the word means), this breach of quiet, is made about unsubstantial, fleeting vanities. Broken rest, anxious fear, over worked brain, failing mind, lunacy, these are the steps in the process of disquieting with many, and all to be rich, or, in other words, to load one’s self with the thick clay; clay, too, which a man must leave so soon.
There’s really nothing I can add to that commentary. You either get it or you don’t.
Our time is short. Too short. We (I) too often get caught up and lose perspective due to our obsession with the temporary. We are shadows pursuing shadows.
The sun and the stars by comparison are forever, so it seems. Yet they are not. They expire, too. While Sam sung in the Tower of Cirith Ungol that “the Stars forever dwell” they in fact do not. They, too, fade and die, and leave a black shadow in their wake.
Though here at journey’s end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars forever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell.
~ from The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Only the Creator of All is eternal. And He has given us a choice.
An eternity in shadow. Or an eternity with the Son.