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January 08, 2015

so dark, so shine

It's so dark. Have you felt it, closing in around your Light? All the fallen flights, heightened security, dropping oil prices and eurozone deflation? The noose tightening around freedom of expression? The shrinking of our world and clashing of our ideologies? Last night my husband and I were peacefully rolling vegetarian sushi, but in Paris there were mourners, blood splatters and a manhuntcartoonists and magazine editors left dead to shouts of "Allā*u Akbar". The murderers are still on the loose. Paris is not so far from us. Darkness is not so far from us. 

All is not well in our world. As children of the Light, the darkness that surrounds us can appear overwhelming. Some days this little Light of mine seems ineffective in a world with gargantuan problems. We don't know where to start.

That's when I thank God that there's something good about the night: darkness makes Light more obvious. It reminds me that little people can make a big difference, when they serve a big God. Darkness makes Light stand out. Even this little Light of mine.

When I left Asia, an employee gave me a carved wooden box. Inside, her note read: " are the only person who has ever understood me, and allowed me to be myself. I will never forget you...." I don't tell this story to praise myself. One would think I must have done something monumental for her, but I hadn't, really. I listened to her boy problems. I ate lunch with her. I worked alongside her. I corrected her. I brought her a snack sometimes, but not as often as she brought a snack for me. I did her a favour once a in a while, but not as often as she did a favour for me. In summary, I did nothing particularly incredible or significant for her. And somehow those interactions were incredible and significant to her anyway. This is the grace of God.

The news depicts horror scenes, and as real as they are, most of us live ordinary lives. We don't grapple with large disasters daily. We're rolling sushi, doing laundry or commuting to work while others are wiping up blood in Paris.

When I was in Asia, a potentially dangerous election occurred, and I received an email in my inbox from North America, giving dire warnings the "radical" leader of our Asian nation. Reading that email outside of Asia, I would have felt concern. But there I was, waking up in the state where the "dangerous" new leader came from, and everything seemed the same: my daal was still oily, the neighbour's daughters still met me in the lift, and the auto drivers were still honking. Yes, it was right to be concerned about the new leader, but for me, the more important task of the day was to smile and thank the cook. To ask the neighbour girls about their day. To pray for and be patient with the driver while he drinks his chai before transporting me. Because I'd probably never meet the president, but in my home, in my neighbourhood, and on my street were people dying for lack of Light.

It often surprises me how little things that to me seem normal to me are unexpected to people in the dark. Little things like
remembering someone's name,
helping clean up after a meal,
making that needed grocery stop,
taking chocolate to a sick friend,
asking to pray with someone,
being genuinely interested in your friend's friend,
cooking for your coworkers,
inviting someone lonely to your home.

Little things that shine big Light.

Maybe you can't go to Paris and weep with those who weep. You won't likely solve global racial tensions. You probably won't smuggle the Good Book into a hot spot, or write a motivational bestseller. Maybe no one but your mother will ever "like" your Facebook posts, or you'll never be good-looking enough to garner some role in the public eye. You might not have the cutest kids or the most stylish home. But, as you live your life, as a
good employee,
good boss,
good student,
good sister,
good wife,
good husband,
good friend...
as someone "given to good works",
your Light will shine.  
His Light will shine.

"Sometimes truth is like a flash of lightening on a dark night. For just a second, a split second really, everything becomes visible. And then, just as quickly, the flash disappears and the darkness returns. Still, one doesn't forget what one has seen when the lightening flashes." (Source: Kate McCord) We can thank God, even for the darkness. "Let your light so shine."

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again for a reminder that hits the spot. Let the Light of Life shine. :)