When the Shadow Comes

How can you feel both everything and nothing at the same time? How does a heart beat so full and so empty in the same moment?

How does each breath swirl into the lungs, fill them with life, and yet… nothing?

There is more to this existence than simply inhaling breath to fill the cavity that exists inside your chest. You know it, you can sense that it is there, and yet when you turn to find it, when you try to step into it, it vanishes like a mirage, shimmering away the moment your attention is drawn to it.

The loss of that vision, that idea, that belief… you don’t understand it, but you know it, you feel it in the depths of your soul. It leaves behind an emptiness, a chasm so deep you’re sure it will never be filled. You don’t know what it is, and you don’t know why. You don’t know what you have lost, but the loss is  all-consuming.

You strive to move forward, to step out of its shadow, but its tendrils reach beyond you, wrap around you, and smother the tiny breath of life you have left.

It takes you.

It envelops you.

It becomes a cloak, a blanket, and eventually a comfort.

Such is the nature of the shadow that reaches to ensnare you. At first, it is the enemy and you resist, then it becomes all that you know, and you forget there was another way, a brighter path. Then, when your entire world is tainted by its shadow, the enemy becomes your only friend.

The shadow is subtle, moving slowly over your life, so slowly you don’t know it’s there until you are the shadow, until its life force beats from you.

Then what?

When you are the shadow, where do you go?

When its life is tied to yours, how do you escape it?

How do you remove a shadow?

You light a fire. A match. A single spark.

You take that spark and you breathe life into it. The breath that swirls into your lungs no longer swirls into darkness. Instead, it is the breath of life that fans that spark until it is an open flame, until it shines so bright in your life the shadow cowers in fear. And then, that light becomes stronger than the shadow.

In the midst of that light is you, it’s your life bringing that light into existence, and the shadow – the shadow that overtook your it, that stole your life from you, that overwhelmed and destroyed everything you knew yourself to be –  that shadow has no choice but to face its own destruction under the all-consuming power that you have become.

So when the shadow rises up and laughs, you remember that light and you laugh back. You remind it that you wield a weapon unlike anything it has ever experienced, and you have a shield that it cannot break.

And you stand.

You stand and you face that shadow and you remind it that this is your life, this is your fight, and by damn, you will win!

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