The Bright Side: All the light we cannot see

Published 2:39 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2024

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There’s a lot of it – light which we cannot see. It’s in that extra five minutes you gave to the older woman at the dollar store who stopped to ask a question and then explained why buying the perfect graduation card for her grandson meant the world to her. It’s behind the drive-through window where you greeted the barista with a warm smile and wished him a good day. It’s within your dog’s eyes when you take your hour lunch break just to go home and walk him and eat on the car ride back to work. It’s on your arms which wrap tightly around your child when they get off the school bus after they’ve just run up to you because they are so happy to be home. It can be in the “kind regards” to sign off an email, or in the little homemade gift you opted to send over an online product, or in the space you allow between your vehicle and the one in front of you to enable the car to your left to fill the gap.

We leave a lot of light to be discovered, never really knowing what happened to it, but trusting that it’s there. Does that mean simply because we cannot see it, or feel it or understand it that it doesn’t exist? No. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Some days it’s harder to remember that God’s hand is at work in my life. I spend a lot of time focusing on the things that have yet to come to fruition that I forget about the countless answered prayers. It’s really hard some days to put kindness, generosity and grace before retaliation, judgement and fear. Fear that comes in the form of disappointing others, not living up to a standard only I have set for myself, rejection and missed opportunities. All the while God has His steadfast love surrounding me like a shield against everything that could cause the light which dwells inside of me to escape. But some days I don’t feel any of it at all. Some days, I forget that light exists everywhere, especially in the places we least expect.

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Three years ago, I received a message from an old high school friend. He asked how I was and if we could catch up. I agreed. Life at that point was chaotic – I was in the midst of developing my career, raising a new puppy, working towards my mental health goals while severely struggling with the news that my mom was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Needless to say, more often than not I was deep in the trenches of fear.

Nonetheless, on a bright Thursday afternoon in October I got on the phone with my old friend. We talked for about an hour, bringing each other up to speed on what had transpired over the course of seven years. We reminisced about high school and chatted about the challenges we both had faced in the years that followed. He had been going through a lot as well, and shared with me the reason for his message: a note in our senior yearbook. I had written something along the lines of: “If you ever need a friend, I’ll always be here!” He said when he read that message, he felt a sense of comfort and knew that it was true. So, he reached out. “Sometimes all you need is to talk to a friend, and everything gets a little better,” he said as we winded down our conversation.

I think about that phone call when I’m looking for the light I think I’ve lost somehow. Did I think a small note in a high school yearbook I had written now 10 years ago would have made any sort of difference in anyone’s life? Absolutely not. But light has a way of shining in the moments we need it most, and for the rest of us, we just have to trust it’s found its way to where it needs to be in a singular moment. So, I’ve recently stopped looking so hard for the light and just trusted that it’s there, defying space and time, existing in truth – rarely seen, but always known.

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at