Growing up, my favourite song to sing in Sunday school talked about letting my little light shine. Perhaps it would be helpful to know that I was kind of a pyromaniac, so a song about not letting my light die was bound to get my attention. I have since learned the intended meaning, but, each to their own, hey? The song went something like this:
This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine Let it shine Let it shine Let it shine.
This last week has been a dream. A crazy, pinch-me-except-don’t-because-I-will-smack-you, I love everyone, surreal, dreamy dream.
Waking up last Tuesday morning, the day my first book was finally released for anyone to read, felt like Christmas, my birthday and the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. Ever since, I’ve been trying to find the perfect way to express how I grateful I am, because I am so grateful. For my hero’s that endorsed me to my friends that celebrated with me. For the posts that promoted the project to the texts that checked in with the girl. For the cards and the calls and the flowers… And for my Jesus who made the whole thing possible.
I am the luckiest girl in the world.
But how do I say all that perfectly? Maybe I don’t. Maybe words don’t always have to be neat. Maybe thoughts don’t always have to be cohesive. Maybe it really is the thought that counts, as long as that thought is actually expressed.
After all, I think messy thoughts trump silent ones any day of the week, except maybe Monday. Monday should still be reserved for quiet cuddles and coffee.
My pastor Holly says, taking ground is really fun in theory, but the reality kind of sucks.
The journey to get here, to the place where I was ready for you to be able to read a book I started writing four years ago, has been messy. And this year? The messiest.
I’ve had to learn how to fight. I’ve had to learn who to let go of and who to hold close. I’ve had to learn to forgive myself for being human. I’ve had to learn to lead people through the very things I’ve been trying to navigate. There were so many times I wanted to wave the white flag; so many times I wanted to retreat back to home base, back to safety, away from the battle lines.
But no one ever won a battle from home base.
There were nights I laid in bed, unable to sleep, and I would stare at the flickering light outside my window. It would go on and off, on and off, like a strobe light that didn’t quite make the team. Just when I thought the light had gone out for the last time and it had died, it would flicker back on. Frustrating for a girl trying to sleep, but great for a writer trying to articulate her life through metaphor. This little light was just trying to lead people home, but it was clearly out of batteries. The darkness was putting up a good fight, trying to overcome it, but that light wasn’t giving up just yet. Interesting.
You see all I wanted to do was lead people home, but I felt out of batteries. Maybe you know the feeling.
And yet, all the while, God was doing something in me. He was teaching me to fight. He was preparing me for battle. He was training me to get back up again, even when I had every reason to stay down.
I haven’t really paid much attention to that little light outside my window, until last Tuesday night. I got into bed after my dream day, and my attention was drawn to my window. Not because the light was distracting me, but because the light wasn’t distracting me.
That little light was shining. No flicker. No straining. No darkness. It was, once again, a bright light, showing people how to get home. And finally, so was I.
Yes this year has been tough, but so have I. And now that I’ve been through the dark? I see the light brighter. Now that I know what the tunnel looks like, I see the road clearer. And hey, so can you.
We all go through times where the light is a little dimmer, the tide is a little lower, and the momentum is a little slower. But it’s just a season. The light will shine, the tide will rise, and the momentum will pick up.
Like my friend and spirit-animal (totally not a thing) Dory says, just keep swimming.
If you feel like your little light is flickering, keep shining. Don’t give up. As long as you’ve got breath, you’ve got life. And as long as you’ve got life, you’ve got light. So if you’ve still got breath, and therefore life, and therefore light, use it.
Babe, shine bright like a diamond.
My little light has come back. And I’m gonna let it shine. And you? You should too.