“The Lamps are Different"
SUNNYSIDE UP MOMENT - APRIL 13, 2020
DAY TWENTY-EIGHT OF THE CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN FOR US AT STACK 'EM HIGH PANCAKES AND SO FORTH
Fifteen years ago my mother-in-law gave me an orthodox vigil candle she brought back from Greece. I didn’t grow up with a tradition of lighting candles for prayer or observance or even decoration for that matter. But this little light of mine has become a cherished keepsake.
We light it nearly every night, not always ritually but habitually. It is just as likely that I will light it with no particular sentiment in mind as it is that I will pause for one reason or another. When a loved one embarks on a journey, we light the candle. If someone is not well, or something troubling has happened, we light the candle. In times of grave circumstances, it has been kept alight for days on end as is the age-old custom. It has been present at important gatherings and meetings outside of our home. We also light the candle when we are feeling especially grateful, and it is always lit during holidays and celebrations. It is one of the notes in our family’s daily rhythm.
There is something deeply reassuring right now about participating in this ancient practice and knowing that people in every corner of the earth are doing the same. For thousands of years, people have lit candles on the eve of holy occasions. Throughout time candlelight vigils have been the outward symbol of hope in the face of tragedy. This small, humble gesture continues as a modern sacrament for solemn times. Rumi reminds us that “the lamps are different but the light is the same.” The strength of today’s vigil is drawn from millions of candles, over all the earth from the beginning of time. This one small candle shines for us and it shines for you and it will shine until tomorrow.