The Holy Man and His Shadow,
A Story of Redemption in Three Parts
Part One: The Miracle
Once upon a
time a self-described holy man stood atop a great hill. In his hands he held a weathered, black, holy
book. He had advertised that a miracle
would occur on the hill early in the morning just after the sun had risen. He had proclaimed it across the land. Everyone from every faith was invited to come
and witness the miracle. Once everyone
saw the miracle he was convinced they would join his religion.
will be stunned,” he said to himself.
“They will be moved to tears and rocked to their core. They will have their falsities demolished and
they will stand in the presence of the light; the light of salvation. They will understand the importance of faith. They will become convicted of their own sinfulness
and beg for mercy. And I will offer it
to them. I will point the way to the
light of lights. I will be a living example
of purity of heart. All who are moved by
this great miracle will know the truth of all truth. They will see that my way—the way of the one
true light—is the only way; the way that heals, and transforms; the way that conquers
expected people began to gather on the hill.
They came from all walks of life and from every corner of the village,
and even from distant villages; for word had spread how the holy man was to
work a miracle; one that would change the course of history; one that would
save a fallen world.
The holy man
stood with his hands one on top the other with the bottom hand pressing the
holy book tightly to his chest. The
crowd grew and grew until the hill was completely blanketed with people. The sun had risen and the holy man looked up
his gaze down upon the people assembled before him. He raised his hands into the air and bid them
silence. A wave of whispers moved over
the crowd and stopped at the shores of silence.
yelled the holy man, “Children! I hope
everyone can hear me and what I am about to say. We are gathered on this hill top to witness a
miracle. All who witness it will be
saved, for they are the pure in heart.
They are the chosen ones. They
are the ones belonging to the one, true religion. They will be born again. But watch closely and pray you are a beloved
of the light and can see the miracle.”
was now completely transfixed as each person pondered in their heart whether or
not they might be holy enough to witness the miracle. A nervous energy began swimming through them. Nearby birds flew away and hid in the trees
as if a storm were approaching. The
leaves on the trees in the valley below turned up their leaves as if to block
the vision they were about to see from their faces.
The holy man
swept his eyes over the expectant, fidgety crowd.
“They are so
young,” he thought to himself, “so much like cattle, so much like lost ghosts.
It is a pity so many will be lost.”
dear children, I will reveal the miracle.”
He turned to
the people behind him and commanded them to part leaving a path along the
ground. Once this was accomplished, he
faced the light and said to the people:
is this—the sun has risen and is at the perfect height to cast our
shadows. Every one of you has a shadow
trailing along the ground behind them. Take
a moment and look at your shadow. Shout
if you see your shadow.” And there was a
great shout for everyone could see their own shadow in the morning sun.
children, every one of you has a shadow, every one, that is, expect me. And that is the miracle. Look behind me oh sinful and floundering
generation and see I have no shadow.
That is the miracle and the sign for all of you. If you can see this miracle then perhaps you
are one of the chosen ones; perhaps you can be redeemed. If you see my shadow
however, then you are doomed to hellfire.”
looked behind the holy man. They covered
their faces and wept; many fell to their knees and wailed for mercy. Others tore their clothes and beat their chests. They began hurling themselves down the
hillside screaming. The holy man looked
around shouted, “If you see my shadow you clearly are not among the chosen and
you should go home and beg for mercy, for you are all but lost. The rest of you who can clearly see that
there is no shadow behind me—you, you dear ones, are the ones I have come for.”
And as he
spoke, the entire crowd dispersed down the hill, weeping, gnashing their teeth,
shouted, “Not one of you sees the miracle?
Not one? It is worse than I
thought! Set fire to your village! Destroy yourselves before the light
does! Oh you sinful generation of vipers
and infidels! Woe unto you! This holy book was not written for you.” And as he shouted his vehemence he spun
around and as he did his shadow spun across the ground with him, for it was, of
course, there the whole time. He turned
around and around shouting at the people descending down the hill until
suddenly he stopped. He couldn’t
move. He was somehow rooted to the
what you wanted,” said a voice behind him.
The holy man turned around as far as he could, but his feet wouldn’t
budge. “Who is there?” he shouted and he
caught a glimpse of a blue, oval shaped light behind him.
And then he
felt himself twist inside as the blue light moved to face him. He suddenly felt torn and mangled
inside. When the being of blue light stood
before him, he saw she was a child, angelic and luminous. She was surrounded by a blue light shaped
like an almond and the blue light radiated like the ocean, it spread like the
sky. And she held something in her hands
that resembled a long, black silk. It
trailed from her hands to the where his feet met the ground and from the book that
he held in his hands.
moving down the hill stopped and looked up.
you?” the holy man shouted.
“I am the
miracle,” she said, and as she spoke she pulled the black silk. And as she did it sent him sprawling to the
you doing?” he screamed.
help,” she said dragging him closer.
“That is my
shadow!” he shouted, “This is impossible!”
child in blue light had gathered up his shadow and drawn him to his knees
“Give me the
book,” she instructed, holding out her hand.
shouted, “It is the source of my strength and light.”
upon a time,” said the child still holding out her hand, “but you have
perverted its message. Now the book is a
part of your shadow.”
he said and he drew the holy book into view.
He gasped when he realized the black book’s shadow was part of the same
black stream that she held in her hands.
her the book, trembling.
She took the
book and then slowly began walking around him draping him with the woven shadows. As she walked around and around him the
tighter the shadows became. The crowd
had gathered again and as they looked on the child completely tied the holy man
in his own shadows. Only the whites of his eyes were visible. He looked like a kneeling mummy wrapped with
When she had
finished, she turned to the people assembled and said, “None of you saw the
miracle because there was no miracle.
His shadow was there the entire time.
Do not despair; you are good and decent people. Do not burn your villages and believe you are
doomed to hell. The Creator did not
create you in order to destroy you.
There is only one amongst us who may very well be doomed.” And she turned to the holy man.
hurt these people,” she said to him. His
eyes were wild with fear. “What shall
you say to them?” She removed the
covering around his mouth giving him a chance to speak.
listen to this devil!” he screamed, “She is a monster and a charlatan. Somehow she has done this trick to me. If you listen to her you will all burn in
murmured and whispered to one another.
wants to be saved, let him untie me from this humiliating trickery. Step forward one brave soul and save yourself
from hell fire.”
moved, expect to get closer to the child.
said, “you have suffered enough. Come
and bathe in the light.” And she opened
her arms and the blue light spread like a blanket of cool water around
them. They moved in closer and gasped in
wonder at the relief and refreshment of her cool, majestic blue light.
bound man shouted, “You are lost to the true light now! You are lost!”
drew closer to the child and as they did her embrace only widened gathering
them all in. And as they gathered she
grew into a woman of such beauty and wisdom that everyone wept in astonished joy.
“Do not let
us go,” the people said to her.
“I will hold
you as long as you desire,” she said smilingly, “for I am the Comforter.”
become of him?” one of the people asked her.
eventually die and be eaten by the birds,” she said sadly.
anything we could do?” A young woman asked her.
always hope, beautiful soul,” answered the Comforter, “what would you do?”
woman thought a few moments and then stood up.
And just as the Comforter had grabbed hold of the holy man’s shadow, she
took hold of a streamer of blue light emanating from the Comforter, and began
walking towards the holy man. Soon another
person took a streamer of blue light and moved towards the bound man, and then
another and another, until the entire crowd began walking around him with
streamers of radiant blue light.
you,” each one said as they lifted and shook the blue streamers around him
sending him cool, refreshing wind–wind of water and of light, wind of the
heavens and the sea, wind of the earth and of the darkness, wind of their
hearts to his. The Comforter wept as she
watched their outpouring of mercy.
acknowledge the wrong you have done?” the young woman asked who had begun the
parade around him.
“And are you
ready to make it right?” spoke a young man nearby.
ready to truly look at yourself and to stop judging us?”
The holy man
opened his eyes, for he couldn’t help but close them and feel cooled by their
waving of the blue light around him. He
heard their questions. Tears formed in
his eyes. After a long time he spoke in
a soft voice.
“You are kind
children,” he said, “so kind, but alas, so misguided. This demon woman has you convinced I am the
enemy and that she is way to the light.
You are all, dear children, being tricked by the devil. I do not need your forgiveness, for I have
acted only out of love for you. I have
done no wrong. You may all take your
banners of light and leave me to die.”
waving their banners of blue light wept.
They turned to the angel in blue, their Comforter and said, “You said
there was always hope.”
she said, “but the hopeless one must embrace it, or at very least cling to a shred
of it. Then it can flourish into
salvation. We cannot force him. Some are bound very tightly by their
the holy man shouted, “She lies! SHE
bound me with my shadow. It was not me
who put myself like this. It was HER!”
looked from him to the Comforter and said, “It is true. We saw you. You did this to him. Why?”
“I am the
Comforter because I manifest the truth.
I make visible what is painful to see.
The truth and the pain however, are the healers, and they must be seen
and experienced to be able to perform their healing work. He has been tied and bound by his shadow and
the shadow of the book for many years now.
It was my hope if he could fully see and experience the truth of what he
has done to himself by becoming so self-righteous and evil in his thoughts of
those different than him, that he might see himself for what he truly is, and
begin to change.”
please forgive us for our doubts, but it seems your making the truth manifest
has doomed him to die.”
she said, “your doubts and questions are good, and there is nothing to be
forgiven. And no, I have not sealed his
fate. He did by calling you here and
driving fear into your hearts. He
tricked you. His shadow was there the
whole time. His own deep hatred of
himself has done this to him.”
helped,” said a young man, “and you are supposed are the Comforter.”
“I am the
Comforter,” she said, “and as tragic as this is to believe, he is comfortable
right now. This is the way he would
prefer things to be. His own self-hatred
runs so deeply that his only comfort is to isolate himself from you and to
judge you for being infidels and unbelievers.
Your gesture of kindness to carry the light to him was beautiful, so
beautiful. It is the thing that seals
your fate in heaven, but if he will not look at himself, he will die here and
die believing he is right and everyone one of us is wrong.”
anything else we can do to help him see himself?” asked a young woman.
soul,” said the Comforter to the young woman, “We have done all we can. The rest is up to him.”
delusional,” shouted the holy man. “She
is a murderer and an agent of the devil.
Flee from her and untie me. If
you follow her and leave me here to die, you will all be murderers and cast
“Some of us
are afraid,” said a young man to the Comforter, “what if he is right?”
she said, “I make you do nothing. You
are all free to do as you wish. But you
can never free him. If you unwrap him
now his shadows will only grow stronger and tighter around him later on. Search your hearts and your own shadows and
find the truth for yourselves. I will
always be with you helping you see. You
must choose for yourselves. My loves, I
pray you follow no one except your own conscience. You may learn from one another and travel
with one another, but follow your own soul and song. For everyone’s journey is different. They may all lead eventually to the same
door, but give yourselves the gift to follow the path you must follow that
brings you there. And know that even if
you do not see me, I am there illuminating signs along the way. I am within you and around you. And at your journey’s end, I will hold you
for as long as you desire.”
that she was gone. And the people stood
in silence as the bound holy man shouted at them and berated them for being
fools and sinners. And as he continued
to shout, they began, one by one, to walk down into the valley, and back to
their simple and holy lives. They had
learned much about themselves on this day of miracles, and they were silent as
they went, pondering it all in their hearts.
Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog