Imagine yourself standing in an open field on a warm, sunny day. Off in the distance, a candle is lit. Though you know it’s out there, the light it produces is unremarkable in contrast to the radiance of the sun. You’re sure you could find more candles in the field, but you don’t take time to look for them, nor do you experience the palpable warmth of the flames they yield because you are immersed in daylight.
Now imagine standing in that field on a cold, dark night. A single candle glows in the distance. Though it’s a small source of light, it vividly pierces the pervasive darkness. As you look around, you notice many candles have ignited around you. Each candle shines with clarity and intensity, allowing you to easily distinguish their sources while collectively feeling their warmth. Distance doesn’t seem to make a difference either, as even the candles placed considerably outside your reach help to break apart the shadows. Eventually, you realize that even though darkness is still present, enough light surrounds you to guide you back to your path. As you move forward, you have a newfound appreciation that if you don’t take time to fan the flames of those candles, you may eventually lose your way again.
In 2015, I learned that sometimes we need to endure periods of darkness to remind us to take stock of the powerful sources of light in our lives. To my family and friends:
You are the candles that help me find my bearings when I’m alone in a dark field.
You are the fog lights that elucidate the limitless potential that exists on the far side of a storm so that I can keep driving forward.
You are the cigarette lighters that feed my addiction to personal growth so that I may become a better friend, sister, daughter, and partner to each of you.
You are the dazzling, irreplaceable diamonds that money could never buy.
You are the bolts of lightning that electrify my spirit with side-splitting laughter.
You are the LED bulbs that make me look good after I say something unflattering.
You are the green traffic signals that give me permission to unapologetically be myself.
You are the stars in my sky that remind me that from anywhere in the world, I can always depend on you to shine brightly in the dark.
There are no metaphors or analogies to adequately express my gratitude for the light you each bring to my life. Thank you for being who you are; no one holds a candle to you.