Have you ever met one of those people who seems to live eternally in sunshine? They lead enchanted lives, these lucky ones, in which nothing goes wrong, they never disappoint or are disappointed, sadness is nearly a foreign entity, and they are free to dance through life with a smile always on their carefree faces. And the spotlight is theirs for the taking, though sometimes they seem as if they hardly know it's there. Granted, even the the sunniest climate (or personality) will have a rainy day every now and then, but such occurrences are few and far between, and they are over almost before they are even started.
Then there are the people who seem to live always in the shadows. They are often unnoticed, unseen, overlooked by life and everyone in it. For them, life has held more pain than pleasure, more failure than success, more disappointment than hope. Even when the sun comes out it does not penetrate the gloom, and the rain clouds come rushing back with an unhealthy alacrity.
However, most of us are not so simply pigeonholed. We move back and forth between the sunshine and rainclouds, the spotlight and backstage. Some people enjoy external sunshine but live with internal shadows they are petrified to reveal, for fear of judgment, ridicule, or abandonment. We paint smiles on our faces and go out dancing in the sun while hoping our masks will hold the shadows in. Some people work hard and still harder, trying to gain their piece of the magic, their moment in the sun, only to find themselves eternally passed over or overlooked, relegated time and time again to the shadows. It is not through lack of effort that they do not get their time in the sun. Still others could be stars if they chose to, but they opt out of the limelight, preferring to work behind the scenes, embracing the anonymity of the shadows wholeheartedly. Their internal sun more than outshines the artificiality of the spotlight.
I've spent a lot of time in the shadows--sometimes by choice, oftentimes not. Sometimes the shadows were kinder; the sunshine burned. Some sunshine that most take for granted was never a part of my life, and I barely notice its absence, except when the rain is falling particularly hard. But sometimes now I appreciate the sunshine that comes my way that much more, because I know the shadows so well.
And I am learning to make my own sunshine from within...