I’ve always been a pyromaniac, albeit a responsible one.
From as far back as the time my sister ratted out my five-year-old self to my parents about playing with matches (and somewhat smugly watched as I got spanked for it, I might add), I have been enchanted with fire.
Like the times my mom used to run into the grocery store for a few things and leave me in the car (remember when that was okay?) and I used to use the car cigarette lighter to relight the butts left in the ashtray (see maybe that’s why it stopped being okay…)
And then there were the numerous times my friend Jen and I dabbled with fire…one of my favorites being how we set a fire in the concrete storm drain outlet (that way, it couldn’t possibly get out of control…See? I told you: responsible) and enjoyed it until it had burned itself out and I was called home to dinner. While outside, I was noseblind to my smoky smell, but when I walked into my house and got a whiff of myself, I panicked and went into the bathroom to come up with a “solution” to my fiery smell…The result? The brilliant choice of spraying myself abundantly with rose-scented Glade. I sat down to dinner in a stink cloud of smoke and canned rose…My mom must have thought that she was better off not knowing because she never asked any questions about that one. Ever.
Yes, I have a few stories that illustrate my love affair with fire. Some, I will never tell. (Jen—remember that one New Year’s Eve with the pizza box?)
So it’s no surprise that the chilly days of this past weekend made me quick to want to light some candles…and it got me to thinking about the simple beauty and power of candlelight.
As soon as I lit a candle in the late afternoon gloom, the room felt different. Warmer. Cozier. Just a single candle cast a glow that made a difference.
It brings back thoughts of songs I was raised on, like This Little Light of Mine and Pass It On. Songs that drive home the point of the power of one little light or how a spark can be the beginning of something much bigger. And, of course, with those songs, the emphasis is on sharing the love of Jesus—how our little lights should shine brightly because we have the Light within us.
And while this is absolutely critical to a faith-filled life, I find my thoughts rippling out further. I think about the flash of a camera—how it too is a “little light.” But while the flash is powerful, it is also brief—and it can often be blinding and disorienting to those who are near when it flashes.
But the consistent flicker of a small flame offers comfort and hope. One small light amidst the darkness can be powerful enough to help you find your way home.
I don’t want to live by flash, but I must admit that all too often I see myself have a brief burst of “illumination” of some sort…and then it is over all too soon.
Instead…I want to live by candlelight.
I want to burn steady and consistently, and I want my actions to reflect the Light within.
I want the results of what I say and do to glow with warmth and perhaps push away some of the gloom of a melancholy day.
A challenge of living by candlelight—to extend the metaphor further (yea!)—is that my light can be all too easily blown out by the winds of the world. Thankfully, though, that’s not the end of it because the Light is there ready to reignite when needed. The Source remains eternal.
The idea of living by candlelight is simply a reminder of the power and beauty that one little light can bring into the darkness…and that if we do choose to shine, we will make a difference, just like that candle did for me in the pall of a gray evening.
The pyromaniac in me smiles at that.