I wasn’t that angry. On a scale from 1 to 10, I was probably a 2. I felt like I was having a discussion and expressing my concern. The person on the other end of the phone line said,
“When you draw your sword, you leave a long shadow.”
What? What did that mean? I wasn’t yelling. I wasn’t even talking firmly. I was relaying my experience and explaining how it probably was happening to others. I had an easy suggestion on how to change the system. That comment didn’t hit me well, and my number immediately doubled to at least a 4.
That conversation was years ago and ended with a mutual understanding of the situation. But I never forgot that comment. Now when I am higher on the anger scale I think about my sword and the shadow it could cast. I think about how my words, not only affect me, but the person I am talking to, and the people that hear it and share it with others. The shadow can be long, dark, and cloudy.
I am not perfect. I have said many things in my life that I regret. I wish I could suck words back into my mind and never let my mouth give them to the power of the sword. I do try to be more aware of how my spoken words, texts, and emails hit others. Sometimes I fail.
I have also come to realize this concept can work in the opposite way. The power of the sword can work for good. Just as anger, hateful words, and actions cast a heavy dark shadow, love, kindness, joy, happiness, and empathy, can cast a long, bright, clear glow.
Think about the logical simplicity of this. If you give someone a smile and a compliment first thing in the morning, it brightens their outlook. They in turn may feel better about themselves and are nicer to others. If you allow a driver to move in front of you, they may not be late for their appointment and be more relaxed and kinder throughout the day.
If someone is a witness to your act of giving or volunteering, they may be encouraged to give and volunteer too. And yes, if you buy coffee for the person behind you in the drive-through line, most of the time they will buy coffee for the person in the car behind them.
And so it goes. The glow of love and kindness is long. These actions reflect as if the sun is shining on the polished metal blade of your sword. Words not only affect us but the person we are talking to, the people that hear them and share them with others. Instead of leaving a shadow, you give a bright gift of light to everyone.
Actions are almost always given back to you. If you are angry, anger will be mirrored back to you in the form of defensiveness and aggression. Two swords are drawn.
If you are kind, kindness will be mirrored back to you in the form of gratitude and love. The sword becomes a bright beacon that showers light over all those involved.
During that phone conversation years ago, I wasn’t very angry. Looking back, I don’t think that was the intent of the conversation. As with everything in my life, the conversation was to teach me a lesson. A lesson of caution that I have remembered for years.
The dark shadow of the sword is a real thing. I believe the power of light is even stronger.
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Pennie’s Life Lesson:
When you are ready to cast a shadow of darkness,
be someone who shines light instead.
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