I’ve been thinking often lately of light. Specifically the light that encompasses all light – the light of Christ: the power, energy and influence that emanates from Him and gives mankind conscience, recognition of beauty and good, and even illuminates our mind with remembrance of all things related to our former heavenly home and all things natural to our truest inner being. At least, that’s what I believe it does, and why I believe the scriptures can truly say that all good comes from Him. (Moroni 7: 12, James 1: 17, Ether 4: 12, etc.) I believe that light always reminds us of who we truly are and motivates us to love, create, reach out, laugh, hope and even simply recognize happiness in our lives and enjoy things that we might not otherwise see. I believe our spirit is drawn to that light almost like a magnet and that it is so familiar to us that we often fail to realize how readily we feel and connect to it in even the most ordinary routines of our day, and how commonly it is expressed in even our simplest actions (and interactions), or felt in our emotions and desires.
I know some of my dear friends who read here don’t share my beliefs, but we do seem to share similar core feelings and similar desires to become good and to embrace beauty, and I think that all of them would agree with my feelings on light – even if they don’t define the source as I do. Perhaps they would relate to the concept more fully as the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau did when he said, “. . . there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we . . . yield to it, will direct us aright. It is not indifferent to us which way we walk. There is a right way . . .”. I love that quote. And it is this same “subtle magnetism” that I call the light of Christ.
More and more I am coming to see (though still struggling to put into practice) that we are constantly – at nearly every moment – in a position to spread, expand, and increase that light . . . or to stifle or even diminish it (and, at the very worst, to allow its opposite to gain a stronger hold). Which is why the smallest things do matter – the way we choose to interact and respond to even the seemingly most insignificant things is not, in fact, insignificant at all because when we choose light – when I say something pleasant to the cashier at the grocery store, or speak with gentleness when I am tempted towards annoyance with one of my children, when I thank Mike rather than complain, share a compliment, give a kind answer to an unkind comment, or nod acknowledgement to the driver of a car who just let me in – I am allowing that light to move forward, uninhibited in my sphere and the sphere of those around me, I am opening hearts and minds (including my own) to accept, feel and act upon even more light. And we feel it, don’t we? I know we do. Even someone pausing to hold a door for me as I head into a building causes my mind to feel an extension of light. Every time I read the scriptural words about darkness in the world, but the saints of God being “armed with righteousness”, I see them in my mind – people, dotting the whole earth, covered in armor and surrounded by powerful, glowing, circles of light. I see them shining out -- pushing back and fending off the darkness, extending light to others, and filling them with goodness and hope and love.
The other day I received an email from Goldie’s English teacher. In her own moment of spreading goodness, she paused from the grading and preparing for her six English classes full of junior high kids, to find my email address and send me a note telling me how much she loved having Goldie as a student, and how amazed she was by Goldie’s kindness. And there it is. After receiving that message, I told my kids that being impressive or popular or well known among even an entire school full of their peers is, in truth, of no consequence. There are so many people who exist in this world and who have existed and yet will exist, that any opinion of any number of mankind here is utterly insignificant. BUT, to extend a kindness or lighten a load or give a small increase in happiness to one individual? THAT is everything. To increase joy even in the smallest degree to a single soul? That is significant. It scares me sending my children out into this world. I often want to keep them encapsulated in a bubble of safety – far from any darkness that might filter down on them. But, they have light to share! They have goodness to spread! And to extend that in the world – and be extended by those who will reach it out to them? That matters eternally.