There’s a wonderful old gospel tune that goes something like this: "This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine (repeated several times) then: "Hide under a bushel–No! I’m gonna let it shine (more repeats)." This refers to Matthew 5:15, Mark 4:21 and Luke 11:33, where Jesus says, "No one takes a lamp and puts it in a cupboard or under a bucket (in the King James version, it’s a "bushel," hence the song lyrics), but on a lamp-stand, so that those who come in can see the light."
Whenever I watch the horrible happenings on the evening news, I always wish I could do something to help–that I had a degree in nursing or midwifery, so that I could rush over to Haiti or wherever and actually aid people. I’ve even considered going back to school and getting that training, but like almost everyone else, I’m helpless, so I just send what money I can.
I want to be a light, but since I don’t have the ability to do it, I simply watch in frustration. Recently, we had an occasion to see what a light people can be to others while doing something relatively "ordinary"–in this case, driving Whitley to the doctor.
I haven’t yet conquered my fear of Los Angeles freeways, so we live in a neighborhood where we can walk everywhere, and Whitley does the driving.
Recently, he hurt his back and couldn’t even sit comfortably, much less drive. In fact, he had to be flat on his back most of the time.
He talked on the phone to our doctor and I walked to the drugstore to get the meds he prescribed, but eventually, Whitley had to get in the car and drive to get an MRI and then see a specialist. I could have called a cab, but he needed to have a seat that reclined (which the passenger seat in our car almost does–it goes way back), so I didn’t know what to do.
I called a friend who offered to drive. This rather enigmatic man works as a healer, but his main function for us was to be a light. He drove Whitley and me to the doctor, waited while he had his appointment, then drove us home–all the time regaling us with fascinating stories that kept our minds off the pain. He didn’t even want our thanks.
He helped heal me too, because I was also in pain–in emotional pain–due to an incredibly hurtful email I’ received from someone I’d considered to be a friend. While this was a small hurt compared to Whitley’s physical one, it was real, and our friend helped heal that too, just by showing that he considered me to be a nice person and liked me just fine.
It made me realize that we can be a light just by doing an ordinary kindness now and then. We don’t have to travel abroad to do it: There are plenty of chances right here at home, if we’re just open to them.
I’m going to try to copy my friend’s example and take that bucket off the lamp a little more often.
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