The Shack


William P. Young

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The Shack: Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

When Mack opens his eyes, he is outside, perched on a small hill overlooking a clearing. The forest around him glimmers with celestial light. Each creature in the forest is clearly visible as a blazing point of color and light. Their movements leave trails of bright fire in the darkness. Mack feels no pain, only joy. Soon, a large group of children, alight with pale inner light, fill the meadow before him. A second circle of larger, colorful lights forms behind them; a group of adults. A last circle of even taller, blue flames forms behind them; Sarayu says they are angels.
The variety of colors that Mack sees here reflect the variety in Sarayu’s garden, which in turn is a reflection of the varied emotions within each person. One lesson Mack has learned over the course of the weekend is that such variation is integral to all life.
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One man in the middle circle seems to be having difficulty. The other lights are colorful but calm and subdued, but his light is unruly, flashing out spears of color. Sarayu explains that he is having difficulty controlling his feelings: the patterns of colorful light are a visualization of emotions, activated by relationships. Each relationship generates a unique pattern of color and light because each relationship Is unique.
Sarayu explains the connections between colors and emotions, reinforcing the wide variety of both positive and negative emotions that are present in human souls. Because each person is unique and each relationship is based on truly knowing another person, the nature of each relationship is that it, too, is unique.
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Sarayu says that the man having difficulty is Mack’s father. Overwhelmed with a mix of emotions, Mack runs towards his father as the light emanating from both of them mingles. Both crying, Mack and his father embrace and exchange confession and forgiveness. A fountain of color from the children and adults around them illuminates the sky.
When he forgives his father and asks for his forgiveness in return, Mack experiences a catharsis and an outpouring of support. Forgiveness can help people to confront long-buried feelings of pain and guilt and move on to healing.
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Still crying, Mack returns to Sarayu as Jesus emerges from the darkness, dressed in a white garment and gold crown. The crowd erupts in cheers. Jesus invites the assembled crowd to greet him, and they individually speak to him before making their way back to the forest. Mack is overwhelmed by the love of the scene. Finally, Mack, Sarayu, and Jesus turn back towards the cabin and walk towards it as Mack’s vision returns to normal.
Jesus takes the time to speak with each person individually, reflecting yet again the personal and individualized nature of the relationship that each person can have with God.
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