Feb 03, 2012

By Tim Halll

The other day I was in the dark. The room was pitch black and I was tripping over everything and quitemiserable. I eventually figured out that if I sat still and did nothing with myself that I would incur no further injury nor traumas. It didn't take long to realize that that was no way to get by. At about the time I resolved to find a better way, I came across a candle and was fortunate to have a technique to light the candle. I now sat in a dimly lit room with a soft flickering light. 

Having the candle lit was marvelous and shocking at the same time. I was suddenly aware of more hazards in the room. I was lucky to have not had worse falls. Although having the candle light was better, the candle itself quickly became my bigger problem.

Everything now revolved around the candle. It had to be dealt with carefully and positioned just right. I took it everywhere and was burned more than once. No matter what else was in the room, it was made visible by the light made possible by my now greatest problem. That candle was controlling my life.

But what could I do? Go back to living in the pitch dark? No way.  A little light was better than nothing and sometimes I would put the wick out but the fear of it never lighting again would eat away at me in an even worse way. My quiet misery had transformed into roller coasters of suffering.


One day somewhat by accident, I ended up lighting two candles. I must have gotten used to the dim light because I saw a candle on the ground and lit it also. I suddenly realized that my problems had doubled. Now I had two candles to deal with and the flickering light was also giving me a headache. I tried carrying two in one hand, or one sticking out of a pocket and even made a little holder to better handle my problems.

By now it had occurred to me that I could simply blow one out. Upon doing so the room became more dim and I realized that I hadn't noticed that the two candles together had brightened the room. Although two problems is too much, only have one candle lit and being that much closer to pitch darkness was too much to bear so I kept the two lit.

It was too long before I got used to that level of light that I found a third candle and shortly after that I had ten lit candles. Although my problems have increased by tenfold, I could now see quite well and was enjoying a new sense of warmth that come as a nice side effect.  I was also now able to open the various boxes I had been tripping over, and I admit that I was expecting to find treasures. I ended up unwrapping blocks of wax and bundles of wicks! 

Before I knew it there were candles in every corner of the room allowing me to walk around freely. Soon there were a hundred candles and the room was quite bright now. I was surrounded on all sides by my biggest problems. I quickly noticed that if I simply let the candles be, that their light gave me the freedom to move about with ease and comfort I never knew before. I didn't even have to learn how to move around them. It just came naturally. The light had made it so simple. Once in a while a candle would go out or melt down or even burn me a little, but I hardly concerned about each individual flickering flame anymore.

I still had to pay attention and walk around stuff, but when I occasionally stubbed a toe I knew exactly what I was dealing with and was able to get on my way very quickly and without significant injury.  The room also used to have a chilly draft which I very much did not like. But by now I could see the room's natural design was to have proper air ventilation. It must have been built with the intention of having lots of candles lit on the inside.

People kept telling me that with all that fire present I would burn up and burn the room down. Sometimes being burned is the necessary risk, and I was willing to earn the scars that show it. And so what if the stuff in the room were to actually burn? As a matter of fact, more than once a candle fell over and did burn something up. There'd be a mess to clean, but what's the big deal about that?  

There comes a point where the light far out shines the problems. The very nature of those candles transformed from being all-consuming problems to being the light that allowed me to live free.  Had the room been bright and shadow free from the beginning, I don't believe I would be able to appreciate it today. Even that delicate sense of appreciation is worth the risk that maybe, just maybe life isn't as bad as it can seem, especially when things seem to be at their worst.

"You are the Lights. Keep the Lights Burning."

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