Last Sunday, I gave a sermon on the Light of Christ. But before I gave the sermon, I sent a draft to the pastor for edits and additions. Like a good mentor, he began with the strengths and encouragement. But, he said, there was something missing. It was clear I needed to add a section on charismatic people leaders, manipulation and coercion. Before he said anything, I had considered it, but I wanted to keep it light and you know....Christmassy!
We all welcome the close of this year-the year that felt like twenty. The level of pain caused by people in power, people who control the information, and people who do not understand or embody the interconnectedness of all life, has been excruciating. We, as members of a planetary system, have all suffered. Those that found the bandwidth to be productive, we applaud you. But most of us have felt like we cannot quite get close enough to air to breathe comfortably, let alone the long, deep breaths needed to be productive and do inspired work. Our lights have been shining, but in ways we perhaps don't even recognize. The light of Christ has been at work inside us. For me, 2020 began with the greatest pain I had ever encountered, followed by the most intense feelings of abandonment. My light dwindled because of that pain, I expect. As the year progressed, opportunities arose and people emerged who continue-to this day-to help me fill my source of light, my oil lamp, my fire. I have so much to be grateful for.
I feel that this year, I have not only witnessed the re-boot of my light, but I have also been shown witnesses of my light, repeatedly. Some of you that might read this are those that have shared with me how I have impacted your lives. I still don't really understand how that works, but I am grateful. I am grateful I was there when needed, and even more grateful that I have support where and when I need it as well. Your lights have re-lit mine, over and over.
It reminds me of the Bible school song, "This little light of mine". Such a sweet song with many memories, that one is. It also reminds me of the parable of the 10 virgins. I feel like I was, perhaps, one of those 5 without enough oil at the beginning of this year. What 2020 has taught me, though, is that we are not islands. We are loved beyond what we know. There is enough love to get us through whatever we are going through, if only we accept it. And, sometimes, the hardest thing about getting through is just that...the accepting of love and support.
If we are healthy individuals, we likely enjoy being on the giving end of things. It is far more difficult to accept help. On this solstice night, I want to share a few example of how my light has been fed this year, even on its weakest of days. I write this to honor my beautiful friends, but also in encouragement to all who read this and might doubt that your gift is insignificant. It is not. It is not!
In January, I removed myself from my home for a little over a week to spend some time with a friend. With that soul sister, I could cry when I needed to, take a walk when I needed to, or sit and work when I could. All was accepted and I knew it would be. She sat with me, listened and loved me in every way I needed for those days. Those days were a blessing to me in so many ways, but also in that they were the last few days of her grandfather's life; the same grandfather she was a caretaker for. The privilege of witnessing those last few days has been a great and enduring gift. As she cared for him, my light was nurtured and cared for as well. I left feeling fed.
That same time and up until the current moment, I have another dear friend who has shown up for me in ways that I never would have imagined. At first it was a phone call to check in. Then it was a morning text. Over the next week, it became a daily text; usually a morning sunrise, an afternoon fire or a sunset. It was a gesture of love, thoughts, prayers and for me...all of those things told me I was not forgotten. I had not been forgotten although life was upside down, my home-life was upended and my income base was no more. Despite all of that, I felt loved.
I feel like we are in a time where we must shift. We can allow ourselves to get caught up in the distractions that surround us, or we can allow ourselves to see where there is light peaking through the cracks, snatch it up and love the world with it. This year has taught us so much. May we all take those learnings and create a more beautiful world.