Have you ever had Peter-Pan envy? Sure, his endless childhood and life in Neverland sound pretty adventurous, but the part I’m thinking about happens near the start of J.M. Barrie’s classic story. It’s when Peter visits the Darling children and their dog, Nana, lunges at Peter as he escapes out into the night sky. “As he leapt at the window,” Barrie writes, “ Nana had closed it quickly, too late to catch him, but his shadow had not had time to get out; slam went the window and snapped it off.”
There went Peter, off to Neverland, utterly freed from his shadow (which, incidentally, Mrs. Darling rolled up and stored in a drawer).
Have you ever wished it were that easy to escape your shadow? To free yourself from memories of past events that seem to follow you wherever you go? To cast away hurtful words or ruined dreams that seem to haunt you? To roll up parts of the old you that don’t fit anymore and shut them away in a drawer, forgotten?
Unlike Barrie’s Peter Pan, we have no such mystical power to walk away from those shadows; we cannot–poof!—make choices and events from our past disappear. But we can find hope in Christ to loosen their grip. In this issue of Today’s ChristianWoman, we’ll explore what it looks like to regard our past from a stance of hope, freedom, and redemption.1