By Harule Stokes
Darkness filled my hollow core for such a long time I’d forgotten what light felt like. I could no longer find memories of warm illumination, could no longer feel it lift my spirit on dark days. I sat in that darkness and remained ignorant of what life felt like to exist in anything but the shadows. That space became my home and I learned to not only endure it, but enjoy my stay therein. It was safe in the gloom, because I knew it. I mastered my navigation within its rocky seas, accepting the crashes, satisfied only with the fact they didn’t shatter me.
Everything changed when I saw the light.
There it stood, defiant before the shade, inscrutable to it and subsequently, myself. How could such a thing exist in the midst of this army of night? How could it beam its warmth, give it away so freely, and not be consumed by it? How could this light pass so easily through the moon-less landscape and never be marred or dimmed by the roughened environment? Yet, there it stood, joyfully giving its energy to the world with a bright smile and a sunny disposition. Then, the light smiled at me.
I wanted the light for myself.
When you see the light, know of its presence, you are forever changed. No longer can you be satisfied with the cold shadows. Once you desire the light, it becomes impossible to be at peace within the night’s grasp or satiated by its muted existence. You can only seek the light once entranced. So, with greed in my heart, I moved to take the light, contain it. I wanted to shackle the light and consume it for my own desire, needed to be its sole possessor. To my great surprise, the light, seeing me through a world of darkness, sought to give its light to me willingly. The light wanted a home.
I cannot contain the light.
Too big to be locked away, too powerful to be enclosed within my grasp, I feared I might lose the light to the shattered shadows of desired hopes that lived within me. But, wanting to contain the light… that’s a fool dream. Nothing can control the light. It cannot be forced into a box and sealed away. It cannot be confined and held back from the world. I dreamed that dream for a time until I saw the truth through the illumination the light brought with its mere presence. It showed me my true desire. I didn’t want to only contain the light, I wanted to be it. But, I cannot be the light. I cannot steal the light’s power or draw from the warmth it gives, a sense of power. That is not my role.
I am the lantern.
I protect the light with my love. Through the windows of my soul, filled with my love for the light, its warm glow can shine even brighter. I am the lantern, not the light. Through the love I give with my willingness to fulfill my purpose, the light can illuminate the night, guide the lost to safe shores and chase away the chill of darkness. I know this to be true, because the light performed this service for me.
Today, the light and the lantern are one. Together, we can do great things. That is OUR purpose. That is why we have one another. That is why we were married. So, I am forever thankful for your light, for you have given me a profound reason to love.