|Image by Leland Fransisco|
While attending a conference, I returned to my motel room late one evening. The overhead light outside my door was burned out and I had difficulty finding the keyhole. When I managed to open the door, I felt around the wall for a light switch. I found a plate where a switch was once installed... but no switch.
Not discouraged easily, I remembered spotting a lamp by the bed when I deposited my luggage earlier in the day. I found the bed in the dark and felt around until I found the lamp, but when I switched it on, nothing happened. Now what?
Though I knew that it was dark outside my window since the outdoor light was broken, I thought that perhaps if I opened the curtains I might be able to use the light from the street to find another lamp. So I made my way slowly across the room to the drapes and... no drawstring! (Have you ever had days like that?)
I finally stumbled around until I found a desk lamp I could turn on and, once again, my world was lighted.
Physical light is important, of course. Especially when you’re in an unfamiliar space. But there is another kind of light that is even more vital -- inner light. Inner light shines from love and compassion and faith. It illuminates and warms a world that, for many people, can be dark and lonely and confusing.
One December I received a letter from a reader in Mexico City who said this about the darkness around her: “Yesterday I bought a Christmas decoration. It’s a plastic star, maybe 18 inches across, strung with small white and gold Christmas lights. I hung it in my living room window last night. It looks so beautiful from outside – even better than I had hoped! I live on the second floor of a five-story government housing project building. The building where I live is tucked away where few people go. Not a whole lot of folks see my lighted star. As long as I have it plugged in, that star shines bravely and brightly out into the cold night. It shines on regardless of whether anyone is around to see it or not. And I know that anyone who does see it must be heartened by it – it’s that lovely.”
She ended with this observation: “I got to thinking, ‘Isn’t that the way we should be? Shouldn’t our lives in some way shine out into the cold night – regardless of whether or not anyone admires them? It’s certainly nice when someone notices us and is encouraged or heartened. But, after all, isn’t it the shining itself that is most important?”
It is the shining that is important, whether or not you feel as if you are making a difference. For someone today just may be stumbling in discouragement or sadness or fear and in need of some light.
So let your light shine. Whatever light you offer may be a beacon of hope and encouragement in someone’s darkness. And if you feel that your light is no more than a candle in a forest, remember this – there isn’t enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one small candle.
Will you let your light shine?
-- Steve Goodier
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