How easy is it to love and feel good about a random act of kindness? But what about extending our hearts to those that want to do us harm? Those who open fire on innocent victims? Those that abuse, rape, and display actions of bigotry and hatred? It is not easy to open our hearts in these times on our earth, but that is what is asked of us as human beings. To love those that seem unloveable. And if we start with our own hearts, our own transgressions, love ourselves no matter what, we can begin to change the world.
Loving our own hearts is like lighting a candle. At first, we are all walking around in the dark, fumbling because we cannot see. We hold our unlit candle tightly in our fist, gripping it with all we have. For some of us, the wick is not visible and we need to peel back some layers of the candle. This takes patience. When we have the candle with a wick, we need to find a match, a spark. We need to seek out what inspires our passion, lights the fire in our bellies. We need to find the light in the darkness. In our search for a match, we somehow stumble upon the dimmest light at the other end of the darkened room. While this may seem like a coincidence, it is our destiny dressed up as a random occurrence.
Now, we are faced with a choice. We can welcome another into our world, whose candle has already been lit. This is the quickest and most direct path in finding a way to light our own, or we can judge and turn away. When we choose the help of another, we form a bond of unity that is stronger than each of us as individuals.
Now our candle is lit, yet, the room, feels dark still because the light of two candles does not illuminate such a vast space. So we wander with our lit candle, often bumping into things and others whose candles are not lit. We ask others if they want their candle lit, and when they say no, we continue on, sometimes wondering why we are carrying a lit candle at all. We continue to bump and stumble and there is a tendency to give up, but then we suddenly are asked for a light. We share our candle as we share our love. And the more we help others light their candle, the more we notice that the room looks a bit brighter. For everyone whose candle is lit is sharing their light. Soon, if we are patient, the room begins to fully illuminate. Even those that did not want their candle lit, cannot resist the brightness, and ask for a light. The more candles that are lit, the more we see the unlit ones still milling around in the dark. Yet it is hard to stay in the darkness with so much light surrounding us. Those that candles are not yet lit will eventually ask for help, or leave the room. Both is fine. Both is divine. Both is perfect. This is how we find the light of darkness.
We have a choice everyday to turn away from those who need our love the most. We have all come here to light our candles. And to help others who cannot find theirs. When we see an act of violence, do we want to retaliate? Do we want to meet hatred with hatred, darkness with darkness? Or do we offer our light to anyone who needs it? Do we scorn those who are in such fear and pain or do we offer another way? When we offer guidance without judgement, we light another’s candle. When we help an elderly person across the street, we light their candle. And yes, when we send compassion and love to those that hate, we light their candle. Whether or not they accept it, their hatred fades, if only for a moment.
When faced with adversity, as what is happening across our planet, our light may flicker, and we may even wonder if it will burn out. But it is not adversity that blows out our candles, it is the closing of our hearts. An open heart will always shine brightly.