Let Your Light Shine
Prayer is a powerful, noble, and necessary thing. We pray to worship, to express our gratitude, to petition, and to bless. We pray for fortitude and courage and the gifts of the Spirit, and I believe that our prayers are heard. Without prayer we fumble through life by our own accord, and eventually we discover that we cannot sustain ourselves. It may not happen until our dying day, but I believe that ultimately we realize what we have been missing. Let’s be honest though — we don’t always know if our prayers are fruitful — we don’t necessarily feel anything in return.
Several weeks ago I wrote about the light and the dark without realizing how black the night can become. That very night my daughter ended up in the ICU for nearly a week. Well-meaning friends sent text messages that read, “I’m praying for you and your family.” I responded to one saying, “I cannot feel it.” I never once questioned or doubted God’s presence. I never once considered “why me?”. The darkness loomed so heavily, and I knew this was a process I needed to go through. Still, I searched desperately for a glimmer of light like the ones I wrote about in my last post. I could not feel or see any light, though many were praying.
The glimmers in the darkness came through people who chose to not only pray, but to put the fruits of that prayer into some action that I could experience and feel. The Light came through a neighbor who cooked meals for us when we couldn’t even find the strength or energy to consider eating much less cooking. There was more than a flicker shining through the hands of the nurses who so tenderly cared for my daughter. I felt its soft glow when friends visited the hospital and others spent time with me to try to normalize complicated and turbulent days. A ray came through several warm and very genuine long hugs. A glint could be felt in the gentle, empathetic ears of those who made themselves available to simply listen. And on a day when I thought I could not get out of bed, someone who went to grammar school with my daughter contacted me with her mom and gave us a Christmas offering to help pay for expenses. I saw and felt hope in the people who brought the Light into action in my darkness.
In all honesty, I don’t know that I would have done any of those things that people did for me. That’s one of the many graces that comes through times of strife. We grow in compassion. It’s the ultimate paradox of life and one truth I can proclaim without hesitation. Like the purification process of gold, the fire transforms us and molds us into something more precious than before. It’s the way our hearts become bright and beautiful like gold.
Once we’ve been transformed — once we’ve prayed and received the Light — it’s so important to bring the light into the darkness so that others can feel its radiant warmth. What good is light that is hidden? "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” I am so grateful to those who chose to bring their Light into my world where it could be felt and for the lesson I received that I must do the same.
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