A Lamp

Here we are, in the first few days of a new year, and a new decade.  I do not recall the world ever seeming uglier than it does right now.  Australia is burning, catastrophes abound, war looms, and the world is governed by people, or the kind of people, with whom we went to high school.  Despair and anxiety seem like the only intelligent response, and certainly, the most understandable.

I want to direct your attention away from that, because while despair and anxiety may fill our world view, they also blind us to some other things that tell of hope and beauty.

At four o’clock this morning I awoke to the mental vision of a beautiful pink sky at dusk.  In my head, I heard just the briefest passage of an unaccompanied choir singing very softly, ‘Alleluia.’  In that moment, I knew that I am loved.  I don’t believe the vision was for me alone; I think it was for all of us.  We are all loved, somehow.

It might seem frivolous or naïve, but there are many positive things to turn to: the Arts, for example, telling us of beauty. Athletics teach us about competition and fair play. Small children burgeon with innocence.  There are people who openly fight Darkness every day. Police, fire, ambulance, healers, teachers, lawyers, clergy. Some dedicate themselves to feeding the hungry, healing the sick, comforting the sorrowful. Some protect the victim and the vulnerable. They are all working to maintain a balance and keep Darkness at a distance.

Some people even look beyond the differences that separate us to see the commonalities that join us.

So long as we focus on these things, or even if all we can do is remember that they exist, the Darkness can never prevail, and we can claim for ourselves a modicum of hope.

We must be attentive to what is happening in the world – there’s really no reasonable way to avoid it. We must regain the balance between Good and Evil, Peace and Chaos. We see the Dark, we must remember the Light. There is a choice – be swallowed by the Darkness, or light a lamp.

With one lamp, you can lead a whole tribe.

Paul TN Chapman
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