I was recently reminded of the saying that: “it’s better to light one candle then to curse the darkness.” As simple as that sounds, it is actually quite a difficult thing to do sometimes. Often our emotions are swallowed up by all of the darkness going on in the world around us. Even if we choose to throw the proverbial “starfish” back into the sea to save it’s life, we can get caught up in the fact that thousands of other starfish are lying all around while a Tsunami wave is barreling down at us. We can get caught up in the great number of lives around us that are being destroyed by the culture of porn, divorce, selfishness, brokenness, and much more. And as we look in the mirror, we can feel very insignificant in a world filled with big fish and bold personalities.
Yet, God put each one of us in this world at this particular time, for such a time as this. I take comfort in the words of Saint Theresa of Calcutta when she said (and I paraphrase): “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” It’s amazing how much darkness is shattered by one tiny candle. It’s also amazing how fast “light speed” is. Light has its roots in the mind and heart of God and when we use our gifts (even though small) with God at the heart of them, they pierce the darkness all around us. I am often comforted, when doing marriage therapy, by the knowledge that I am not just helping to change the life of just two people, but also I am effecting the lives of their children, grandchildren, those of their extended family and sometimes even beyond that. If you doubt me, just recall the last time you heard a motivational speaker who so inspired you, that you started to make changes in your life for the better. Many of these speakers can point to others in their lives that counseled them through hard times when they were making poor decisions that were leading them down the wrong road. And the changes you are now making in your life, whether it is causing you to be more religious or pray more or be more kind in your words, how is that changing the dynamics in your family?
As long as we live in this world, we will always encounter great evil. Just think of Maximillian Kolbe in the Nazi concentration camp. His one act of great love, changed many lives and many hearts, even until today. So today, look for an opportunity to light a candle in the world around you. Maybe, someone will want to borrow your flame to light their own candle.