Shadows always fascinated me when I was growing up. I was amazed at how – by blocking the sunlight – such interesting shapes form. I admit it; I had fun trying to chase my shadow.

One fall while babysitting my granddaughter, we spent a lot of time outside. It’s where she liked to be, and so did I, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine before the arrival of the winter cold.

As we walked, we could see our shadows. Mine was long and stretched out, and so was hers, only so much smaller. When we walked, the shadows moved too. It waved at us when we waved. It fascinated her as much as it still does me.

Ah, the simple pleasures of life.

It crossed my mind that my life will be a shadow over hers. The way that I live it, the words that I speak, my attitude and actions will affect her.

That knowledge is more real to me more than ever. In this past year, five elderly family members passed away in a matter of nine months. That list included both my farmer’s and mine fathers. Many times, if not daily, in some sort of way they cross my mind.

As we stood in the family lines at the funeral visitation of our fathers, we realized what an impact each man had on those who they came into contact with. As people came from near and far, we were all the more grateful to be blessed to call these men ‘dad’.

The shadow their lives passed over so many people, and it is still making a difference.

I fully realize that to my grandchildren I am just this old woman who comes to visit or has the candy jar on the hutch filled with treats. Who likes to serve ice cream in sundae glasses and keeps butterscotch topping in the refrigerator for Grandpa, and creme de menthe for Grandma.

Sadly that is how I viewed my grandparents – as old and feeble people who liked raisin buns with cheese. Certainly they were people to love and revere. How I wish now that I had asked them the questions of how they survived the depression years, what it was like to court with a horse and buggy, to come to a new land knowing you may never see your parents again…

Yet, for all my limited knowledge of their lives they still cast a shadow over who I am.

My Oma, once so healthy and hardworking, suffered for many years, with an ulcerous sore on her leg. I remember her smile and non-complaining attitude when we came to visit. Recently I learned that when she and her sisters got together, the laughter and conversation abounded, much as it does for my sisters and I today!

Or Opa, who loved the farm so much that when he retired to town he lived on the very edge so he could have a barn and keep some cattle and chickens. I think that’s how I would like to retire. And oh, how he loved the Psalms.

My Grandpa suffered with migraine headaches, which has been passed to me. He was a quiet man, never talked much. His Bible was always by his chair side. He was so tall and thin, and in my mind, my own farmer is lot like him!

Grandma was the complete opposite – short and heavy. She had a most caring spirit, always concerned about everyone’s spiritual life. I see their daughter, my own precious mother, becoming more like her parents.

I am thankful how their lives shadowed mine for good. But it’s only because they lived their lives devoted to the shadow of the cross.

May my life also bear that reflection.

“I am thankful how their lives shadowed mine for good. But it’s only because they lived their lives devoted to the shadow of the cross.”