Friday, July 27, 2012

Living in the Shadow of ...

It is said that only the living have shadows. I read somewhere that if a person throws no shadow around him he is no human, he is a ghost. How scary to be confronted by such a situation. But how do we feel about living in someone else's shadow? Or under the shadow of something? Most likely we will respond in the affirmative if we associate shadow as an escape from heat, threat or being discovered.

There are different impacts on our lives from being shadowed by different objects. One observation I like to make, powerful leaders dislike shadows. Instead they like to over-shadow others. By the reverse observation followers should then enjoy being in the shadow of their leader. But I hold the view that always living in the shadow is bad. It is literally comfortable. On a bright and sunny day we stay indoor or under a huge tree to avoid sunburn. It is the sane and smart thing to do but doctors always tell us to get out into the sun once in awhile to enable our bodies to produce vitamin D which help in better absorption of calcium into our bones. Think of our forefathers who work outdoor and often under the sun and we envy their strong bodies and stronger resistance to diseases. They don't use sunblock cream and skin cancer is unheard of. Spending time picnicking outdoor is a healthy way to live.

Back to leaders. Good leaders doesn't demand their followers or subordinates to always listen to them, i.e. be shadowed. They insist their people to get into the open and build their own sun instead, i.e. cast a shadow. If you have no shadow you may just be the ghost you don't want to be, ineffectual and always depending never growing to be useful. Also, people who always live under shadows tend to prefer the dark. It gets comfortable but it also create opportunities to escape into another world, that which lure them into unhealthy habits. That is why many evil deeds are committed in the dark, at night, in the shadows of buildings, inside vacant warehouses, in the bushes.

Our world was created to have light and darkness. They represent work and rest, symbolizes good and evil and alternate over and over. While it is light we seek shadows of our homes and offices but when it is dark do we seek the lights from the moon and stars? No, we seek our invented lights, thanking Thomas Edison for his marvelous idea of an electric lamp.

How are shadows formed? A child can answer that. You need a light source upon an object which block its rays and cause a shadow to be casted. So a shadow is the outcome from two sources, a light and an obstacle. An obstacle can produce a good or a bad shadow. I'd say a tree is a good obstacle for it provide shades and coolness besides yielding fruits and fresh air in the morning. I'd also say city skyscrapers are bad obstacles for they encourage unhealthy lifestyle and work cultures. Have you heard the term 'to shadow someone'? It is used on private investigators or spies and connotes the art of breaking into the privacy of others, whose privacy may perhaps be in dubious shadows too.

Which is more powerful? The light or the obstacle/object that blocks it? It doesn't need an answer for without light there is no shadow. Without shadow life eventually cease to exist. In the day the sun excel because it is the burning planet that emits light to the earth. We are alive because we have the companionship of the sun. But at night when the sun rests (it is a lie we tell our children so they can go to bed) the moon excels over it. Not literally for all the moon does is stand in the way between the never resting sun and the spinning earth. The moon excels over the sun because it 'takes the heat' literally from us. Because it doesn't emit light we sees its glow because of the surrounding sunlight that escapes its total blockage. But for some 10-12 hours every night we sigh a relief that we can take a rest from a restless day.

We cannot live in the light always. Shadows are needed to escape to but never to stay forever. Shadows are like pitstops of our lives. We go there for repairs and refills and get back into the race again. For there will be one long shadow awaiting each one of us one day, when the lid closes in over our face. But for now be both light to shine hope and love and shadow to provide comfort and protection. In a real sense we all are light and obstacles. It is up to us to decide when to be which, and that may require some conscious effort on our part. I hope that I have been both to my readers in this post.

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