This Little Light of Mine

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NKJV)

I have struggled for over a week to put words together following a recent school shooting here in Colorado. The focus on this blog is hope and at times like this, I feel like we owe it to each other to just sit with one another without words like the friends that surrounded Job when he lost his home, his kids, and his health all at once. “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him…they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” (Job 2:11-13)

Not only did our community and the families of the kids at the STEM School Highlands Ranch go through a horrific tragedy last week, this week we observed Peace Officer Memorial Day. Having lost one of our own Sheriff’s Deputies, Zack Parrish, a little over a year ago, people are overwhelmed, angry, hurting, outraged…insert a synonymous adjective…and as the pendulum swings, others are flat out numb.

Is it guns? Is it humans? Is it humans with guns? Is it evil? Is it mental illness? And is it ever going to stop?!

How does one sprinkle hope in situations like this, at times like this, in a society like this. The only way I know how to overcome darkness is to turn on the light -– like lighting a candle in a midnight black room, it creates a gentle glow. That gentle glow is what I endeavor to share with this post – kind of like when you attend a Christmas Eve church service and you pass the light of a small individual-sized candle repeatedly down each row, sharing the light until it fills the whole room.

Look for hope in the soft glow of a friends’ eyes reminding you they are with you in it, or share hope in a soft whisper of encouragement about the thing God carried you through. It’s like a San Diego ocean breeze lifting, just slightly, the discomfort of a sticky summer day.

It reminds me of mothers that pick up the habit of rocking back and forth on their hips, the motion they learn to use for comforting a crying baby. Even when our kids grow up, if there is a baby in the room, we are swaying right along with that mother like a Polynesian dancer. The rhythm of comfort is one that is learned, and it can become our hope habit in a world like this, in moments like this.

God comforts us so that we are able to comfort one another. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” the old Sunday school song goes. “Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.”

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In the Knowing

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony… – Revelation 12:11 (New King James Version)

The words lifted off the page to meet me as I read them, like a mirror image reflecting my face, the scars and the light. The blemishes and the hope.

“An unexpected life as difficult and undone as it might be, could end up becoming the life you’ve been searching for all along.” Michele Cushatt

I was on short hop to Phoenix for work and I couldn’t put the book down despite my lack of sleep the night before. Instead of stealing a two-hour snooze on the plane, I poured over every word of her story and it felt like my story. Unexpected suffering.

Each night when I closed my eyes the week leading up to this trip, I dreamt my three children were standing in the middle of a two-lane highway, straddling solid, bright yellow stripes – a Mack truck heading their way. My mind filled with panic and my heart thumped hard in my chest. And there was nothing I could do – in my dream. And there is nothing I can do in real life. My kids’ dad is not well. Though we are no longer together, his ongoing health issues do and will affect them. And this affects me. I have this compulsive desire to keep bad things from happening – and if I can control good and bad, then I can keep them from suffering, right?! Can I, though?

We all experience heartbreak in our lives and difficulties that threaten to crush us to dust like the elements from which we came. There are days I doubt that what I have done to rise above my circumstances will ever be enough to produce the outcomes I have desperately prayed for in my kids’ lives or in my own. There are days when shots ring out in the halls of our schools or across the thresholds of our synagogues, and we aren’t sure we can go on in this wicked world.

This particular day, as I settled into my aisle seat in coach, I needed a fresh breath of real. A dose of you’re not alone. Michele delivered. Hope is delivered in so many ways – this day it was in the knowing, the belonging created by the words of someone else’s testimony of overcoming.

In this world, we will have difficulties, and as Jesus reminds us in
John 16:33, we can find hope in knowing that He has overcome this world. We have hope in Him – may we remind each other.

For those curious about the book I finished in two, 2-hour flights, check out Undone, A Story of Making Peace in an Unexpected Life.