Adding Light or Increasing the Darkness

One Sunday morning, a friend took me to her church.

It was an old, small building at the crest of a hill. We sat on pecan-colored pews. Before the service, I watched a woman with blonde hair light candles.

She didn’t use matches. She used a traditional brass candlelighter, the kind that can both light and put out a flame.

Maybe you know the type: One part is a wax wick that catches fire. The other part is a bell-shaped snuffer that extinguishes fire. All you need to do is choose which part to turn to.

Which, I thought, was an interesting way to think about ourselves. As walking around with the dual ability to light up or darken the moments we live in.

This morning, which have I done? I wondered. Or over soup last night? Talking to a friend? Or talking to myself? Did I add light or increase the darkness?

At the end of the service, the woman with blonde hair returned to the candles. With a turn of the candlelighter, she extinguished them all.

We rose from the pecan-colored pews. I walked down the hill from the old, small building, and I asked myself a question I will try to ask in all the moments I remember to:

Which part of yourself will you turn to now?

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