The shadow of a friend from my twenties recently fell across my path. Candidly, I have not thought about him and his unique perspective in over twenty-five years. He was, to be blunt, only focused on himself. He was totally selfish. If you asked he would tell you. If you had any doubt, you could watch and see that every action affirmed his statement. Every word, action, and choice had his soul at the center. Without hesitation, his hedonistic focus on immediate pleasure was out on display for everyone.
As much fun as he was at the time, his words and actions were a shadow in my life. When I moved away, I quietly lost all contact with him. Until the other day, he was a piece of my memory that even I had forgotten about.
His shadow showed up as I reflected on someone that lives for others. The contrast was like light versus darkness. When one is in the room, the other is reduced to shadows. Ironically, I could see echoes of the shadows in my life and others. We may not be as extreme, yet we are selfish. We may dress ourselves up and hide our weaknesses well while we work to keep self at the center. Without comment about anyone else, my life is a paradox. Good coexisting with the negative, positive alongside our weaknesses.
It is not all doom and gloom in my life or yours. Within each is a thread of love. We were created and born with it. The truth we often cannot see is that “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.” (1 Corinthians 13.5) Self may compete with love but it never totally wins. Love still exists. It is within you and I even when we think it does not exist.
In seeing the shadows, I found myself encourage and hopeful. Knowing that we are weak is never the full story. We are capable of acts of compassions, gifts of beauty, and times of solidarity.