I remember, as a child, first encountering my shadow. It was a beautiful bright summer day. I was in the backyard running with the energy of a child when suddenly I became aware of something following me. I turned and saw on the bright grass a darkness that ran as I ran. It was following me.
I remember the fear it caused in me. It seemed something I had been unaware of all this time, and now here it was. I could not shake it, it pursued me, matched me step for step. I looked at my mother, as frightened children do, hoping she could save me from this thing that would not leave me be. But she only laughed and told me it was my shadow. This did not make me feel any better. I ran, I dodged, but I could not shake it, could not even momentarily confuse it or slow it down.
I don’t remember how long it took me to get used to it, to understand it and realize it had no power over me. It only echoed my movement, could do nothing to me. But I eventually learned it was nothing to worry about. As a matter of fact, thinking of it was a waste of time. Nothing I could do in regard to it would ever make my life any better.
I’m an adult now, and yet there are moments I find myself still reacting to the shadows. I’m still tempted to take arms against them, to respond to their actions, forgetting that they can only respond to me. Too often we feel we must battle the darkness, that the cause of good is to combat evil, the cause of life to combat death. We spend so much time battling evil and death that we forget to concentrate on goodness and life.
Evil will always exist. It clings to our every movement, seeking to divert the power of good to its own designs. The true power evil has is that it is capable of distracting us from the good. We react to evil when we could be enjoying and participating in the good.
Death will always exist. It is inevitable and will consume all in time, but it cannot erase the time we are given, cannot take from us the allotted days we possess unless we spend our days thinking about death rather than living our lives.
Shadows exist everywhere, but they mean nothing. They have no power except what we bestow upon them. To worry about evil is to prevent our ability to spread goodness. To obsess about death is to distract us from the miracle of life we are given. I once ruined a beautiful summer day by worrying about the shadow that followed me. I will try my best to never again ruin another precious day.