Once upon a time, a candle named Carl was about to have his official lighting ceremony. This was a huge moment for every candle. After years of working hard and preparing, it was time to become a grown up and be lit. No longer would he be protected by the confines of home and school, which at the same time, meant he was free to follow his dream. Like any true candle, Carl dreamed of sharing his light with the world. He was going to make a difference. As Carl was about to be lit, he closed his eyes and imagined what he would soon be able to do and it excited him. After being lit, he opened his eyes to find… everything the same. Nothing was different. Even the room he was in was just as bright as it was before; he didn’t make any difference at all. He quickly shrugged it off because it was a sunny day and how could he compete with the sun? After the ceremony, he thanked his family for their support and talked to a few friends as he anxiously waited for the night because then he would matter; that’s when he’d make a difference. As the sun fell, however, the moon filled the sky with light, and once again Carl couldn’t compete. Discouraged, he remembered he had learned that there are nights when the moon disappears, and that’s when he’d make a difference. As the days turned to weeks, the big night finally arrived when the moon was going to be hidden in shadow, but when Carl looked up at the night sky he saw that the stars shined brighter than ever. Feeling the full weight of discouragement, Carl remembered there are nights when the clouds block out all of the sky’s light, so that’s when he’d make a difference. A few days later the clouds filled the sky, and Carl was ready. To make his grand appearance Carl decided he would make a bigger impact if he climbed the local hill that overlooked the city. From the top of the hill he looked over the city about to fill the night with his glow when he saw all of the street lamps already shining bright. Even when the clouds were out blocking the moon and stars, he still wasn’t needed. Something else was already doing what he could do and they did it better. He couldn’t compete with the sun, or the moon, the stars, or even the street lamps. Carl was useless! Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t fill the sky with light because he was so small and insignificant. What was the point of him being there when there was always something else better than him? Tears started to fill his waxy eyes, which is weird because he’s a candle and candles don’t cry, but he was so lost and feeling like a failure there was nothing left to do but give up. At that moment, however, he heard the sniffles of someone else nearby. He quietly walked over to the source of the sound and it was a young lady who was sitting on the ground with her legs to her chest shivering and crying. She was holding her shirt over herself instead of wearing it. Carl was a candle; he may have had tears, but he definitely didn’t have hormones and understand the situation. Despite this inability, he still felt sadness for the girl and he was filled with compassion for her. Not knowing what else to do, he moved towards her and silently stood close enough that she could see his glow, but not too close as to bother her. When she looked up and saw him, she reached out, grabbed him, and brought him close to warm herself against the flame on his head. Carl had never even considered that he could help someone in this way. His warmth helped her, and he felt good to be able to do this. After a few minutes, she held him carefully in her hands and started walking down a dark road back to town with Carl lighting the way. He couldn’t compete with the sun, the moon, the stars or even street lights, but that was okay. He didn’t have to fill the night sky and change the world. Helping one person mattered. Helping this one girl was all he needed to do. Candles don’t need to change the world because they can make the difference in one life and that’s good enough. Helping one person matters.
Rev. Chad David, www.ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people