all the little lights

I sparked my first match when I was six years old, in the harvest season, for the Festival of Lights. It was a matchbook stick and my big brother helped me tear it off. The cardboard end was unnaturally angled, and bent even further when I gently slid it against the rough striker on the back of the folded book.

My fingers already smelled and I wrinkled my nose. Sulfer dioxide, my brother said, answering the unasked question, and I repeated the words with a grownup nod.

The light didn’t appear, so he patiently instructed me to try it again.  I did, quickly this time, with ferocity and purpose. I still remember the flame sputtering to life– as if it had always been there, just waiting for me to bring the shape of it to reality. I never really even notice matches anymore.  But then, it was new– the air was heavy with the smell of burning, my fingers were warm, and my heart was racing.  I lit the little wax candle in front of me, and then quickly blew the burn of the matchstick away. The smoke was a dark foggy place where a light once blazed, and I breathed it in as I watched my candle dance in the moonlight.

It was just a little light, but even a little light pushes back the darkness.

I knew there were thousands of little girls and boys doing the same thing that night, throughout the world.  All our lights were little– like our hands, like our lives–  but we all knew there was nothing like a million little lights to brighten a path.

We all share the same darkness, even though we each come face to face with different shapes of it, so any light brightens the way because we all share the same light.  One light.

Loss is a darkness many of us have touched, shaped like the life that no longer is.

In my case, it is an expansive darkness, shaped like a person and the loss of dreams. A space shaped like a husband.   There is another dark space right next to him, a pile of books that he never got a chance to write.  There’s the darkness where our home went and the dark space where we would have stood in the dance formation at my little sister’s wedding.

I know you have a dark spot too.  This day might be the day that it first appeared.  This year, last year, or maybe even a dozen years ago, or three dozen– it doesn’t matter.  Time doesn’t fight darkness, only light does.

I don’t know the shape of your dark spaces, and I’m not sure I’ll ever have a right to know.   I don’t have the right words to give you, and I’m not absolutely sure they exist at all.

I know that there’s absolutely nothing I can do to fill the dark spaces of your heart with substance, and I don’t know you would want me to even if I could.

But I do know what I knew back then, in the fall of my sixth year of life– that we share the same darkness, and we share the same light, and the flame is only waiting on us to shape itself into reality.

So for you, today, I am striking a match, in hopes it softens the edges of your dark.  In hopes that it illuminates the you that I know, and love, and see– even now when your heart is so entrenched in the empty.

In hopes that thousands of other lights are lit for you too, and that all those little lights together push the darkness back just far enough for you to take in one itsy tinsy tiny breath of light,

and take one itsy tinsy tiny step forward past tonight, straight toward a light we all share,

the promising dawn of tomorrow.

A little light
Lyn sent this photo to me after reading this. Isn’t she the best?


62 thoughts on “all the little lights

    1. Aw, Jaded. Thank you. I feel as if my world constantly keeps the lights on for me, and I want nothing more than to gift that feeling of light and certainty to others. 🙂 Thank you, for everything. ❤


    1. Luminescence is such a pretty word. This community is a beacon, I’m just a one of the thousand tealights that fill our lighthouse. And I’m so proud to be one with kind hearts like you. *hugs*

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you often put a face to the uncertainties and fears which inherently makes them friendlier and more overcomable. That’s the sort of illuminating we could all use. Also, Colleen, I’d like a signed book. Can I order one and ship it to you and then whenever you have time, really whenever, have you sign it and send it to me? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think maybe we see that in each other. That attempt and desire to make life more friendlier.

        You are my FAVORITE today Rara! Thank you! I think you can order it and have it sent to me from the order, then I could just mail it to you. That seems easier than back and forth. I don’t have any extras right now or I would just send to you. If I get an order in before you do that, and I have any extra, I will email you and let you know. But I have 20 coming and they are all spoke for right now (unless someone changes their mind…) And thank you, very much. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’ve had a lighter month than most because I’ve been away from social media and tv. Those places have become a bit foggy lately, though I’m ready to return to social media. TV will take me another year probably. 🙂 As to blessings my way, always. In that respect, I’m one of the luckiest people I know. 🙂


  1. Hi Ra. You need 2 like buttons for this one 🙂

    My light comes in the shape of showing people how to solve a problem, just like I was shown by someone who was a complete stranger at the time.
    Love the festival of lights, greetings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Matt, I love that. It’s very “dinosaur princess on the brute squad”. 🙂 Though the light is not all mine, I think about all of ours who are standing a little close to the blank spaces this week. Like Goldy who lost Male last year, and Daydreams who lost Dad and Bill Friday who had his loss too … and those are just the ones who wrote about it. I’ve been lighting candles like crazy, juuuust in cases.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Over the last 3 posts.. I’ve just shook my head. Like… daaaammmnnnnn. Will forward this one along too – because it needs to be forwarded. The perfect message of light in these crazy times that are filled with “men” pushing hate. Hugs Ra.. all the light back to you, all of it. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, lovely lady. I assume by “men”, you mean “The Man” because men folk make up a decent percentage of the readership here and it doesn’t surprise me to see 50% of the love and empathy in the comments come from them. But The Man, gosh, well that whole mess almost makes me grateful I’ve lost the right to vote. Almost.


      1. That came out wrong.. I guess I was thinking of one, really – because that’s all I’ve seen lately and it makes my heart heavy. Shouldn’t have phrased it as such, I know better.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh no worries, I was just confused for a second. Sometimes the fact that I grew up in a multi lingual home comes out, and I make that sideways head confused face. 🙂 I know you are a great supporter of men in your life, that’s why I wasn’t sure if I missed something. See, this is why you need a blog, so I can stalk your mood and life status before replying. 😀


  3. I don’t remember lighting my first match, which is odd, because I have an affinity for fire. I was always the one poking the coals and watching the colours of the flames. At birthdays, my parents re-lit the candles so I could have a turn blowing them out.

    Thank you, Ra. Please hand my light on to someone else. Right now, thankfully, my darkness is a shadow that exists because of the light. As time moves, this will not always be so, but for this moment, I feel very fortunate indeed.

    Love to you.

    Let there be light.


  4. Yeah. What you said …

    It’s those moments we remember the laughter — not just its cause but the sound as it came out of the mouths of our beloveds, the tears that may have accompanied it if the joke was big — and the moments of irritation — not what caused them but the coming away and becoming again entwined in the love that made the irritation possible.

    Those are the continual lights that illuminate our steps as we move forward into tomorrow and a bit closer to the Eternity where we will again find those beloveds.


  5. Some people are human candles that make the world brighter just by being in it. That explains those little waxy splatters on your sneakers… : )

    I’m sorry to have been a stranger for so long. I’m so very happy to know you’re free, but deeply saddened by your loss and the heavy burdens you’ve had to bear. A belated welcome back, Ra, and thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts and reluctant optimism.

    ::wanders off, leaving a pungent whiff of sulphur dioxide:: 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  6. this is such a beautifully written piece.

    my darkness once took form in a young man whom i fought to see the light in, but lost sight of my own light as he dimmed mine down with emotional abuse..

    it’s been a little over a year now & my light is brighter than ever. 🙂

    thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh wow. This got me so emotional…

    My favourite line

    ‘All our lights were little– like our hands, like our lives– but we all knew there was nothing like a million little lights to brighten a path.’

    I have only just decided to light up a match too – and my life has been brighter than it’s ever been. Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. “We all share the same darkness, even though we each come face to face with different shapes of it, so any light brightens the way because we all share the same light.” reading this post, I saw the faces of those I have lost…..thank you so much for giving them back to me for just a moment tonight. Blessings.

    Liked by 2 people

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