Last night, my wife lit a candle in remembrance of our most recent loss. October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss remembrance day. Several times, I turned off the lights to watch the little candle burn as the only source of light in the room. Sure there was light coming in from outside, but it wasn't anything like the brightness that came from that little candle.
Three times during the evening one of the kids would put the lid on the candle and the flame out go out. Three times my wife or myself had to relight the candle so the flame could once again burn bright.
As I sat there watching the candle and thinking about the events and situation surrounding that candle, I couldn't help but keep my mind from a string of thoughts.
First, I thought about how without darkness the candle light would be so lost. If you light a candle during the middle of the day the light is barely noticeable. Sure you may notice the flame, but you really won't see the light that comes from it streaking across the room. It paints a perfect picture about how often we take something so small for granted. We take our spouse, our kids, our family and friends all for granted until one of them is no longer with us. We may see them and understand they have an impact, but until the darkness comes, we never realize how much light they really shared.
Then my mind went to how the kids put out the light. Not intentionally, but because they were interested in the fact that when you put the lid on the flame it would just go out. I wonder how many of us that has happened to. People, either intentionally or unintentionally get in the way of our source of life and we begin to suffocate until our light goes out. Regardless of how strong we are, how bright we are, how long we seem like we could last put under the wrong conditions and we can fade quickly and stop producing light.
Then there comes the thoughts of relighting the candle. I ignite the flame from the lighter, but I didn't create the fire. I am just the one willing to use a tool to reignite the candle. I have control over if the flame will reach the candle or not. I have to be willing to light the lighter, move across the room, and put the flame to the wick. I wonder how often we are willing to do that in our every day lives. We know we don't own the flame, we don't control the flame, but we can certainly be used as a tool to pass the flame. We can also be used to stop a flame from being lit or re-lit.
Lastly, they flame burned all night. I woke up frequently to see it still burning. It kept the room lit well and was a constant reminder. It made me think of how many illustrations throughout the Bible that God uses light as an illustration to help us understand. Light can be used in so many ways. It can be ever so complicated, while allowing for so many simple thoughts and ideas to be shared.
How do you see yourself in relation to a flame? Are you a single flame in a world of darkness? A flame that just keeps getting put out? Are you one that is being used to light the flame in others? Are you a flame that goes seemingly unnoticed because of the brighter lights around you? Perhaps, you just need to see the flame to remember? Maybe, it's none of these, but rather a totally different way of associating yourself with the flame.