There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton
Today, C.C. and I are off to Vancouver for a few days to visit my eldest daughter, a young woman who is the light, whose smile and grace reflect light at all times.
Because, in the end, no matter if we are the light or its reflection, light shares its brilliance freely -- and when we stand in the light, we become part of the light and in that becoming, light grows, darkness fades and shadows lessen.
I have a friend who is standing in the light. She is casting out the shadows, pushing back at the darkness.
It is hard work this moving from the shadow into the light. And it is important. For even in the shadows her light has cast a beautiful brilliance on the world that radiates everywhere. That illuminates so much for others to see the wonder and beauty all around. Even in the darkness, she is the light.
Yesterday, I left the shelter for the last time. I said my good-byes, hugged and cried and drove away knowing, next time I'm there will be under different circumstances.
It was touching and it was difficult. There are so many people in that place where darkness shadows people's dreams. So many people who have touched my heart and my life and shown me how to stand in the light. Peter held my hand and told me he will always be in love with me. (I didn't know he was :) and I am touched) Gary sobbed as I hugged him. "I'm angry at you," he said. "Now everything will change."
And it will. Change. And it will. Be different.
Just as I am different since first walking into that place in May of 2006.
I am different. I am the same. In that place have learned to claim my light and be it. To reflect it. To share it. To cherish it.
I walk in the light. I cannot take my light away from that place. I can only carry it with me, but what light I cast while there, will be carried in the corners and the folds of the hearts and people whom I touched and who touched me. We are all different for our encounters. We are all embraced by each other. We are all 'the same', human beings on the journey of our lifetimes.
Just as my friend is different and the same since someone came into her life and tried to dim her light, turn it off, shut it out.
But no one can do that -- no one has the power to turn off our light, unless they choose to end our lives. And while living in the darkness of someone else's abuse feels like a living death, it is and always will be, their abuse. Not ours.
I am praying for my friend today. Praying and wanting her to know -- she is a light that brightens up my world everyday. Her light is filtered through love and caring and kindness and generosity and just plain old smartness. Her light is a light that illuminates hearts and minds and souls.
And, I am praying for the souls who continue to sit at the shelter hoping for light to illuminate the path away from that place where the darkness called 'homeless' shadows their every step.
I am praying for the light.
And now, I must run. I've got to tidy up the house. Undo Christmas decorations. and did I mention do laundry and pack? Yup. I'm off to Vancouver and I've much to do before we take flight -- I was emotionally drained last night and chose to simply sit in the softness of the Christmas tree lights twinkling in the night as C.C. lay on the sofa reading and I relaxed in the reading corner, enjoying the quietness of the evening all around..