The comfort of candles

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2003

I was so discouraged last night. Not able to attend the candlelight peace walks around town, I put four candles in my windows. Their lonely little flames against the night led me to think of how futile they are when compared to the dazzle of television lights or the glare of bombs bursting houses.

The mighty of the world stride around under the lights and the mightiness of the Americas prepares to drop the bombs. What can old-fashioned candles do? "A feeble glow" is the usual description of a candle.

And yet, what does all this signify? The television lights are impartial: They don't care who is mighty and who is fallen. Bombs don't care that they rain destruction. Whether to call it collateral damage or killing innocent children; it is all the same to them. They just go where they're sent.

Candles have always meant homecoming. A light in the dark that leads the weary traveler to shelter and warmth and peace and love, family and all that is truly dear to us. We pray with candles in our churches and synagogues for peace and justice and spiritual strength. We use candles at our death to light the way to the land of light perpetual.

So, in the long march of history, what will prove to be more effective? Let us all light our lonely little candles and then observe from above what a warm, kindly, all-embracing light we have lit together.

Perhaps we have the lasting power after all.

Dee Longenbaugh


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