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  • Writer's pictureWILLIAM A SLOAN

Reflected Light

A spotlight is unforgiving after you’re 19.

It’s true. Spotlights show everything – every flaw, every wrinkle, every insecurity being carefully disguised in the shadows of the every day world. Reflected light – shared light – is always more attractive and forgiving. It softens the edges, allowing shadows to blend into light without harsh interruptions.’s a literally beautiful word and idea that sounds like what it is. Say it slowly – b-l-e-n-d. A blend is a mixture of two or more different things that combine to make another. Like cinnamon raisin bread. Like Labradoodles. Like Hamilton.

And when red and blue blend to make purple, it’s a beautiful thing, don’t you think? (Sometimes my metaphors are more subtle than this, but seriously, doesn’t this pretty much say it all?)

As a fairly self-aware man somewhat north of 34 – work with me – a spotlight hasn’t been my friend in a very long time. I mean, I love a spotlight! But it no longer loves me. And the idea of a spotlight is IT’S ALL ABOUT ME! The rest of the world fades into the darkness. It’s a seductive, powerful, uniquely isolating place to be when you’re younger and think, and the center of the think.

But you learn, as the years go by, that if you have any sensitivity or empathy or humanity, reflective light, communal light, is inevitably brighter than the spotlight. It grows exponentially. It reaches farther. It’s more flattering, more forgiving, more sensitive...and more illuminating to those people and ideas and thoughts that were previously hidden in the shadows.

Think about that. Reflect on that. And share the light inside you.

There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

– Edith Wharton

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