Me and my shadow


Hope your week is going according to plan. I find very little does in my world.

For instance, this blog entry was going to be a time for sharing autumnal thoughts – a nice, light, poetic break from the rather heavy issues I seem to have been covering recently.

Then something intruded on my thoughts and plans.

An unwelcome shadow cast itself over my week

And that shadow came from me. It was:

A painful jolt.
Emotionally challenging.
Begging to be noticed.
A blast from the past.
Impossible to ignore.

So what could I do except try to write about it? Well, maybe…

Read the bible.
Speak to someone.
Turn the thoughts into words –  a poem perhaps.

Believe me, I have tried them all and found a degree of release and help in each. Now I am sharing some of my story  here in the hope that someone can relate to it and be helped too.

Emotional pain, like any other, requires a trigger. All it takes is: A sight, a sound, a smell, a remembrance. Once triggered, it pops up genie-like to seek instruction.

And begs the question: Does it serve us or do we serve it?

For many years I have wrestled with painful issues from my past – a dysfunctional family, childhood abuse, complete mental health breakdown and other losses along the way.

I know that events from the past can cast a long shadow and are never that far away

When they surface it hits me with a sharp pang of remembrance. They seemed dead and buried. Counselling and therapy had their natural end. Closure was secured. Healing had come. Or so I thought. My life has moved on – hasn’t it?

Yet scars remain and may always do so to some extent, even when the wounds heal over.
You cannot see them on the surface but those who know me best are aware they are there.

I am free from the severity of their wounding, though still vulnerable to attacks that come from nowhere and leave me feeling wretched and drained, surprised all over again at the vehemence of the feelings that ensue.

Most of the time I can live heedless of their presence, with my memories-  like those of most – tinged with pleasure and nostalgia instead of anxiety, fear and pain.

I am only offering a tiny glimpse of my shadow self here – a peek behind the curtains to the inner sanctum. In time I hope to have the courage to share my story further if that is what I need to do. Sometimes that feels like a step too far. Can’t I just draw the curtain, bolt the door and let it return to the recesses of my mind?

The genie may refuse to go back in the bottle though and make me its slave instead of letting me be the master.

The main lesson I have learnt as a Christian through my years of emotional, spiritual and physical pain is that I am on a continual healing journey towards change, transformation, restoration and renewal.

Today, I seek to connect with those who are hurting. Another day I will share more of my story with emphasis on the way God is bringing His light, hope, help and healing to bear on my life.

 “Blessings alone do not open our eyes. Indeed, blessings by themselves tend to close our eyes. We do not come to know Him in the blessing, but in the breaking” ~ Chip Brogden

The poem below speaks of this shadow side infiltrating my mind.


You remain
like a blot on the landscape
A festering wound
beneath the surface.
Your presence lingers
threatens and devours.
I seek freedom
at any price
as you scratch
ink-stained etchings
on my mind.
Purple scars pooling
drowning out sense and sight.
Shadowy remnants
loom as substance
filling and spilling
leaking through tears
resistant to
brushing away.
Engulfing fingers
pointing, accusing
as they strangle
the fragile hope
I had gained.
How do you deal with shadows from the past?

What helps or hinders that process?
I welcome your comments.

18 thoughts on “Me and my shadow”

  1. Thank you so abundant for a able-bodied written, simple to acquire
    commodity on this. It can get in fact ambagious if aggravating to
    explain it – but you did a abundant job. Acknowledge you!

  2. Thank you for your courage in sharing this, Joy. I felt moved as I read it; all I can do is pray that your healing journey takes you to people who will listen to you and reassure and comfort you. I hope you do find the courage to share your story fully, with the right listeners, and that this does eventually lead you to full healing.

    1. Thank you, Sheila. It has been a long road to recovery and may not be complete yet. Though I feel I have come as far as I can in terms of counselling and other therapy. In writing and sharing here I feel the process is cathartic and healing in some respects. To accept what has happened, live with its effects and want to reach out to others who are hurting in a similar fashion, is a huge step forward from where I used to be. No secrets now! :)xx

  3. How important it is to do something with these fears and feelings from the past that surface to haunt us and not just try to squash them or pretend that they're not there. I love your poetry, Joy; I so admire the skill you have to encapsulate so much in such well-chosen words heavy with emotion and meaning. I pray that it helps you as much (or more) than it helps your readers.
    'To know Him not in the blessing, but in the breaking'.
    That's going to be on my mind all day.
    Thank you for this glimpse behind the curtain, my friend.

    1. Yes, Helen, the very expression of the pain is a great way to find relief and release. I take those words to heart too. In a life filled with more breaking than lucky breaks, it has been necessary to glimpse the grace more than focussing on the sorrows. My desire is for others to be set free to share their stories too. Bless you :)xx

  4. Hello Joy. Your son has given me your link as I also suffer from long term M.E/CFS of over 25 years, and I have also been a Christian for 21 years. I know what you are experiencing in very sense of the word. I have just read some of your poems etc and the Lord is using you to reveal His treasures from the 'trash' that life throws at us. God bless you abundantly amidst the pain that seems to accompany each new day when suffering from this unwanted illness. No day is the same and planning is out of the question. My life is always 'pencilled in' and subject to change at the last minute, depending on whether my body wants to cooperate …or not. Please know that my heart connects with yours in our shared suffering.

    1. Hello Michele. I am delighted to meet you and really pleased my son gave you this link! We do appear to have much in common. I can fully relate to 'pencilled in' appointments that are rarely kept. Thank you for your kind comments. Shared suffering does connect people in a wonderful way as we also share God's grace in the suffering. Do feel free to explore the blog further! Lovely to make a new friend. You can also find me on Facebook or Twitter. Blessings to you 🙂 xx

  5. Joy, thank you. I admire your courage in writing something so personal and the beautiful, dignified way in which you do it. I really hope this aids your healing as I know it is helping in mine.

    1. Hi Mandy. This piece virtually wrote itself as it refused to be silenced and I couldn't move on to other things until I'd expressed these feelings. Once I had, then the saying of them helped me greatly. I am really touched and honoured to be able to play a small part in your own healing process. May God surround you with His peace and love :)xx

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