One Light

By Steve Goodier

Imagine an artist painting a winter scene. She depicts a white, frozen ground and evergreens draped in snow. Her hand brings the day to a close as she paints night falling on the canvas. In the deep shadows of dusk, she has painted a grim, log cabin, barely visible to the casual observer.

Then she dips her brush in yellow paint and, with a few quick strokes, places a brightly burning lamp in one of the cabin’s windows. Warm rays dance on white snow, now made brighter by the light. The lonely lamp wholly changes the tone of the picture, replacing feelings of dark and gloom with warmth and security.

Edith Wharton has said that there are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Sometimes we are the candle. We shed light of love and hope. We shine encouragement into dark souls, for this is a bleak and cold world for too many people, a frightening and lonely place in need of light. Francis of Assisi got it right: “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”

But sometimes we are the mirror that reflects light. We reflect back what we see in others to help them see their own light — their own goodness and beauty, their own strength and resiliency and resourcefulness.

There are two ways of spreading light — to be the candle or the mirror. Which are you?

By Steve Goodier

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