This Little Light of Mine . . .

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This little light of mine.

I’m gonna let it shine.

As a girl I sang these words, in a children’s’ choir with our fingers pointed to the sky. Our hands circling. We were the light of the world. And we were to let our lights shine brightly, and constantly for all to see.

This little light of mine.

I’m gonna let it shine.

I didn’t know much about darkness, in my Sunday best at the church that I was born into. As far as families of origin, I sort of hit the jackpot. Two parents who loved me and were proud of me. A church I would still recommend to people in my hometown, sisters who had my back, and grandparents who had not one but two vacation homes so the gaggle of cousins could all fit. I had a lot of light in my life.

Let it shine.

Let it shine.

Let it shine.

As I grew older I knew about darkness, peripherally at least. My dad would sometimes bring people who had been having a difficult time in their life home for dinner. He believed in second chances. He believed in providing them himself. My mom did too, treating the people dad brought home with respect, and figuring out ways for her community college students to pass the required English classes. She often shared with me the ways her students were trying, how the system was failing them, how they were doing it anyway.

Darkness sometimes overtook the people my parents introduced us to. My Christmas money was gone after someone watched our house, an addict we thought was clean. Not all my mom’s friends graduated. Sometimes people called our house drunk or high. We loved them anyway but had strong family boundaries. I knew that the light didn’t always win. I knew it wasn’t that simple.

Once, my dad told me the story of losing all hope for a woman we had spent years inviting into our home, our church, our life. Apparently, he told our pastor he did not believe that she was able to be redeemed. The pastor told my dad that was blasphemy. That no one was ever beyond redemption, that was the point of the cross. There is no such thing as too far gone, as too dark, as unredeemable.

Hide it under a bushel NO!

I’m gonna let it shine.

I never knew a church to hide its light under a bushel, but I would say I often saw them crowded together in a giant lump, each little light coming together to form a massive burning light that lit the corner of those buildings all that light was crowded into.

It was as if the light was being hid by other light. There are only so many candles you can light before one more isn’t going to illuminate anything new. No, I never saw anyone hide their light under a bushel, but I saw plenty of people crowd together in a massive, lit-up lump and turn their back to the darkness.

Until recently I would have attributed this behavior to false righteousness. But now, I think it was fear. I am not quite sure how the people with the light became afraid of the darkness, how someone convinced us that dark can overtake light.

Hasn’t Satan always been a liar?

Don’t let Satan (blow) it out.

I’m gonna let it shine.

My light went dark sometime last fall. One too many disappointments and whoosh, like a quick blow from a child’s mouth, my light became extinguished.

I don’t know that it was Satan exactly, I think life just sometimes gets the best of us. It certainly got the best of me. And there I was, sitting in my own darkness, my eyes still not adjusted to the light. I could not find my way out.

There were many who called to me from their lit corners that I should join them. There were those that mailed me instructions about how to re-light my candles. Still others wanted to tell me that if I just willed it so, my light would burn back up, that I was simply not trying hard enough to fight the darkness.

I couldn’t. I just didn’t know how. It was not until someone else entered into my darkness, sat beside me and offered to re-light the wick as many times as it took. It was only when someone was unafraid of the dark, that I remembered how to be the light. I remembered what this light was all about.

There is no such thing as too much dark, the light cannot be over powered.

let it shine

let it shine

let it shine

let it shine.

Abby Norman

Abby lives and loves in the city of Atlanta. She swears a lot more than you would think for a public school teacher and mother of two under three. She can’t help that she loves all words.She believes in champagne for celebrating every day life, laughing until her stomach hurts and telling the truth, even when it is hard, maybe especially then.

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