Come Be My Light


In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit ~ Albert Schweitzer

In his latest newsletter, inspirational writer, Terry Hershey tells the following story (Adapted from Mother Teresa, Come be My Light ) about her visit to Bourke, a town in the north-west of New South Wales, Australia.
We went to the outskirts of Bourke, where all the Aborigines were living in those little small shacks made of tin and old cardboard.  I entered one of those little rooms and told the man living there, “Please allow me to make your bed, wash your clothes, to clean your room.”   After I cleaned the room I found in the corner a big lamp, full of dirt.  I said, “Don’t you light this lamp, such a beautiful lamp?”  He replied, “For whom?  Months and months nobody has ever come to me.  For whom will I light it?”

So I said, “Won’t you light it if the Sisters come to you?” And he said, “Yes.”

So the Sisters started going to visit him for only about 5 to 10 minutes a day.  They started lighting that lamp.  After some time the man got into the habit of lighting the lamp himself.  Slowly, slowly, slowly, the Sisters stopped going to his shack (although they used to go every morning).  I forgot completely about my first visit, and then after two years he sent word, “Tell Mother, my friend, the light she lit in my life is still burning.” 

In each of us there comes a day when our lights go out or dim – right now I am thinking of Phillipa whose beautiful spirit has been clouded by the judgment of others, Eileen who has lost her mother recently, Yvonne and Karen, mourning the loss of their spouses, and all the many ways in which our own light may no longer shine quite as brightly as it once did.  But I also think of how it takes just the smallest gesture of kindness to re-ignite that light again. I only have to read one of Karen’s comments on my blog to see a shining example of that.

Terry writes that he told the story of Mother Theresa as an affirmation and a reminder that within each of us there is a light.  And that this light–of hope or dignity or delight or passion or justice or beauty or wonder or grace–still shines, regardless of the dirt that covers it.  Yes, there are times we forget.  However, there are also times when a simple act of kindness, or gift of compassion, rekindles the light in our own spirit.  This gift we give to another, becomes a gift we gratefully receive.

My continuing passion is to part a curtain,

that invisible shadow that falls between people,

the veil of indifference to each other’s presence,

each other’s wonder,

each other’s human plight.

Eudora Welty

So today, is there someone we can offer hope to, listen to and embrace? Can we be the one to light even a small flame in ourselves, in another, in the world today? Who ignites the flame in your life?