Friday, October 8, 2021

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, October 9, 2021 - What Type of Light Are You?

What type of light are you? Are you a lighthouse? I tend to be a cross between a spotlight and a candle, I think. Are you a blacklight? Are are you laser? Or perhaps you are moonlight. 

The type of light that best represents each of us is derived from a combination of who we are naturally, and what we hope to be. 

In my case, when I was a performing arts youth mentor, I loved creating a space to shine a spotlight on other people. I loved to find out what people were good at, and give them their best shot at doing it well. I really wanted to give them opportunities for appreciation. Not just appreciation of themselves, or of the opportunity. But to receive appreciation from others for their efforts.

As a Minister, I take great pleasure in continuing that practice. I love it when I’m given an opportunity to showcase someone’s gifts in a way that encourages a sense of belonging and fulfillment. That to me is a spotlight. Something that, in its own ephemeral way, draws all of the focus for a moment and directs it. It is meant to be a light that shines on others. 

The candle represents my intent. It is who and what I wish to be in the world. Something that provides a more inspirational kind of light. Something that transforms darkness, but with simplicity and humility, and with a limitless supply of light for being such a small thing. For candlelight is never diminished by sharing its light with another. It can act as a catalyst for other candles around them. 

A candle provides warmth. It’s just enough light to read by, but not so much that it would attract attention. A candle can be a catalyst, or a symbol of a faith. Flame represents both chemistry as well as hope. 

So I think of a candle as a job description. Something that I look toward when I’m not 100% certain what direction to take, or if I’m aware of the directions at all. 

Being a spotlight might sound like a mission statement as well. But it’s something I can remember feeling since childhood and is often felt like a force which drives me rather than the other way around. I think that one is part of my nature. And perhaps the candle is as well.

So then what kind of lights are you?

I’d first think about what kind of light you’d like to be. Did one of the types I mentioned jump out at you? Did you think of something different? What was the first kind of light that came into your mind at the thought of one representing you? What kind of light do you want to be when you grow up? Because that’s the path you’re already on.

I’ve known a few lasers in my life. Hyper-focused and driven. Some are overachievers by dint of their upbringing, good or bad. Some just naturally achieve a lot. Some are gentle enough to illuminate a diagram on the wall. Others would burn a hole through it. 

I’ve known my fair share of moonbeams and they are among my favorites. Gentle and easy-going. Sometimes flaky, sometimes serene. 

I imagine some people are a bit like plant lights, doing their best to make things grow, in spite of the absence of the sun. Plant lights are noble and useful. And they’re satisfied by things succeeding around them. 

If I had to add a light type to my illumination bio I think it would have to be starlight. I’d like to be starlight when I grow up. I thought for a minute about what the answer to that question might be. At first I hesitated because I thought how dare I aspire to be starlight? But why not?

I’m not even sure who I would be if I were like starlight, though. Would that make me cold and distant? 

Perhaps the starlight to which I aspire is an acceptance that my molecules are part of the soup of all things and have been every type of light imaginable. And that one day, in a long distant future, my molecules will again be a part of a star. A part of the sacred cycle of life.

Which means it’s all in me. And therefore must be all in you as well. It means that on some level it is our decision what type of our light we wish to put forward. We may follow our nature, we may follow our intent. But that we are light is unmistakable. And may we never forget just what we are able to achieve with it.

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