Sometimes feels like it’s about to go out…
I remember when I was a little girl, learning the old song, “This Little Light Of Mine, I’m gonna let it shine”. And like every other song I learned as a child, I sang it with my whole soul. My light, like my voice, was LOUD and PROUD.
These days it seems like there is such darkness in the world. People are angry, disillusioned, sometimes even hateful. Darkness of heart and soul feel oppressive.
I struggle with that darkness of heart sometimes. I’m struggling with it as I write this. As I said to someone recently, I know that happiness is a choice…but so is authenticity. So I won’t lie and say that I am OK right now. I don’t feel OK.
BUT, in times like this, when my own light seems to be fading, I am reminded of the light cast into the world by other people…creative, loving, optimistic, funny, encouraging people. I can borrow their light in order to strengthen my own. My friends share so much of their light with me, it would be difficult for me to stay in the dark for too long.
And in my sincerest prayers, I would ask God to forgive me for my darkness, especially when I have exposed it to other people. In the words of another old song, I want to “brighten the corner” where I am. Lord, help me to reflect The Light Of The World to those around me, especially those who struggle with times of darkness. Amen and Amen.
What inspires us…
My friend David shared an insight with me years ago that I have never forgotten. He said that all creative/artistic types have more than one outlet for expression. That one bit of wisdom has held true for me, even before he said the words to me and, in fact, since long before I ever met him.
I read somewhere that famed fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy cited Audrey Hepburn as being the inspiration for much of his design work…she was his muse. Over the years I have found my own inspiration in many places, things and people. A conversation with a valued friend can spark an idea for a blog post, or for a different way to interpret a phrase in a song I am working on; seasonal change and the beauty of nature often urge me to snap photographs, capturing a moment of color, texture, light and shadow; a sound, scent or memory can prompt me to write a poem, haiku or brief passage which might eventually find its way into a larger work.
Inspiration does not always come from things that are traditionally considered beautiful. Sometimes an inspiring image is one depicting pain, brokenness, sickness or even death. For me, if a thing evokes a strong emotion, it can serve as a muse. I want to explore it further, document how it makes me feel…to wonder about, or create, its story.
In future posts, I hope to write more about my various muses, their stories, the reasons I find them so meaningful and inspiring. You may find yourself mentioned here, or pictured here. You may see a photo that evokes an emotional response. I hope you do!
…if you’re not OK…
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I understand how hard your year has been, truly. Mine has had its moments of sadness, frustration, pain and doubts too. While most people seem to be overjoyed at the prospect of having a long weekend, pigging out on turkey and dressing, ham and mac & cheese, eating, drinking and being merry, you might not be feeling so festive right now. Neither am I.
And that’s OK.
We can be thankful and still feel sad sometimes. We can appreciate our blessings while mourning our losses. In fact, I think the losses sometimes make our blessings seem more precious, because we realize how quickly those blessings can be taken from us.
I had friends die this year, people I loved while they were here and continue to love now that they are in Heaven. I know people you love have died this year too, and this will be the first Thanksgiving that a loved one’s place at the table will be empty. You might cry. I might cry.
And that’s OK too.
I hope that your tears are softened by laughter as you remember your loved one, the good times you shared together and the many Thanksgiving meals you put away. I hope the hole left in your family circle is closed up a little bit as the rest of you draw closer together to try and fill in that space. I hope you can take a few minutes to be alone, if you need to…to breathe deeply, to pray and to give thanks even in the midst of sadness.
And I hope you know that no one is expecting you to be perfect, to put out a flawless meal or to re-create that Norman Rockwell fantasy holiday. Be real with your loved ones. Tell them if you’re having a hard time. Share your heart with them.
(Me and Aunt Ruby, Thanksgiving 2012. We had no way of knowing it would be her last Thanksgiving with us. Now she sits at Jesus’s table, feasting on His goodness and waiting for the rest of us to arrive.)