Lemme tell you something…

Shadow Play

by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Copyright 2009

Yeah sometimes I get ’em. You too probably.

Today I got in a blue funk.

The bluest blue, the funkiest funk. Personal issues and situations in my life became seemingly insurmountable problems in my mind.

So I went for a walk to clear my head. Wound up at a place in LA called The Grove.

Bought a doughnut at the Farmer’s Market and a small coffee. How can you not feel better after eating your favorite donut? Yet I didn’t. I thought of the picayune money I just spent on both and felt like I’d cheated myself, wasting money on buying a cup of coffee when I had my own coffee at home.

Have you had this kind of day?

When that happens I do what I always do: think of all the people in the world who have it a lot worse than me. But this time that didn’t work.

This time when I thought of all of the suffering of all those other people in the world who are worse off than me, instead of it stopping me from feeling sorry for myself, it put me in an even bluer mood. Absolute blue if there is such a color.

Not only did I feel down and helpless, I felt that the whole world was tipping over the edge and I just had to sit down on a nearby bench and collect my thoughts. It was around 6pm and the sun was setting on the day, matching my mood.

I hate feeling this way. It feels like a luxury I don’t deserve, or didn’t earn.

Nearby a young boy, probably no more than 2 and a half, 3 years old tops, appeared to have just discovered his shadow. His giant shadow stretched out long from the setting sun at his back. He waved one arm and watched with utter delight as his giant shadow waved back. He shrieked out a laugh that was ear-splitting, but impossible to be un-charmed at the sight. His father, smiling and bemused, stood by but off to the side so as not to let his shadow interfere with his boy.

The child waved both arms and naturally the shadow did the same. Again with the glass cracking laugh. Before I gave it a second thought, a smile cracked across my face.

The boy jumped into the air, watching with happy wonder at his control over the massive shadow.

He got it!

He fully understood that he alone was the master of this amazing thing! He turned to look at his father (to see if the miracle was noticed!) and with as much awe and pride as a 3 year old could muster, vocally put all of that sense of happy accomplishment into one word, “DADDY!”

All of my seemingly insurmountable problems: All of the unbearable weight of the world, flaked away from me like ash.

As I sit here a few hours later writing this, I’m amazed at the stunning power of one 3 year old boy against the world.

(originally posted at my MySpace blog on Tuesday, May 5, 2009)

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