Why the Lights?
Be the Light
Summer has been zooming along and somehow July has found its way to the calendar. We have an abbreviated summer here because of fall and winter breaks. August the first is finding its way here a smidge more quickly than expected, just as the beginning of school always does. So when this whole light thing started, I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. Yes, I still say that and feel that way. A lot. I am so hard on myself, expecting perfection time and time again, when I should know better. But. I didn’t. In summer we travel to new places to adventure and familiar ones to see old friends. All the while keeping our jobs and houses and families and regular commitments flowing. Feeling honor bound to throw one more ring into the circus we call life, the lights, the kind you see on restaurant patios and in friends’ and neighbors’ backyards, they are the goal. Focusing on those lights…
My sweet Dad knows I love all things that sparkle. My husband will tell you Christmas “is when I shine”. So…on one of my Dad’s outings (he is retired, and LOVES a good project, or even better to encourage and support one I am doing) he came upon these outdoor lights. How many strands would I need to “do” our back deck. This man kept after me, gently inquiring about them in our conversations, and always including them in our texts. 3 weeks – yes, I am ashamed to say – 3 weeks later (he would probably say more like 3 years because he has never been one to let a little truth stand in the way of a good story) – 3 weeks later I had my answer. We would need 3 strands exactly, so let’s buy 4. I had measured end to end, drawn diagrams, and thought it all through. I had a plan, many plans, and they needed 3 strands. Fast forward to Dad’s birthday, where he gave ME the lights. Now, by giving me these lights, he knew? hoped? he would keep me/us busy for a while on this project.
Every couple is different. I get that. For us, we thrive on doing things, new things, together, as a team. It unites us. Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any differences of opinion or moments of frustration, but we get through them together. Because even though we are united in marriage, we both still approach everything from different perspectives. We choose to see our differences as an asset. And sometimes, that means that his way can be better (there is always that inner 5-year-old self who thinks my way is best). Because, those lights, those lights that shine in the darkness, we did those together, not his way or my way but our way. John 1:5 reminds us “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” In a small way, we overcame the darkness, and are shining our light.
Why the lights?
When I look at those lights through the window while washing dishes, enjoying a glass of wine or grilling and dining under them, not only do I love the lights, I love what they represent. We worked together and accomplished a goal. We put our mark on our house. With each move, especially from state to state, it takes time to make our house into our home. Each time what “it” is changes, but there is a need to leave the house better than we find it. Kind of like our rescue dog, who came to us with this house, which is an entirely other story, but please know life is better with a pet. Goodness all gracious that little fur baby spreads light and joy wherever she goes! Back to the newly hung lights.
Under those lights, family and friends break bread and share life. We begin with the blessing, whether it is a cherished favorite or spontaneous words from the heart. Plus, my aunt’s family famous quote “everything tastes better and everyone looks better in candlelight” rings true. So, we linger a little longer, and all our chores wait inside. Doesn’t matter a taste what the menu is, be it sandwiches, steak or sangria, it simply tastes better outside under those lights we did. The light, it’s shining in the darkness. Don’t let anyone or anything rain on your parade. Be the light in the darkness. Be the light.
Written by the lovely Grace Lanier.