Sunday, February 24, 2008

Letters to the Light of the World

by Troy Chapman

Whoever you are, wherever you are on earth, right now, you are the light of the world — if you choose to be. If you have chosen to be the light of the world, I know this about you: You sometimes feel like your bulb is cracked, your batteries are dead or your lens is so caked with the mud of life there’s not much point in even trying to shine. Maybe you’ve given up or maybe you struggle on, but are no longer certain it actually matters.

If so, we have this in common. I made a commitment to be a light in the world after taking a man’s life almost 25 years ago. I came to this commitment with lots of good intentions and not much else. I’ve struggled and can’t count the times I thought I was defeated but for all the times I was sure that was the case, I was wrong. I’m still here. Still trying to be a light in the world.

The other day I was watching a TV program about astronauts and they were talking about how they never know what’s going to happen up there. And they can never bring along enough tools and parts for every contingency. They often have to make do and address even life threatening situations with jury-rigged parts and tools to keep going. In the same way, I have somehow managed to cobble together what I need over the years to keep going.

I’m surprised again and again by this but I also know that it’s not some unique talent I have. After all, you’re still here too, right? We’ve all somehow managed to keep the mission going no matter how often we feel like we’re failing. We’re still here.

But, the truth is, it’s not always easy. In fact, it’s very seldom easy. We struggle in the face of fatigue, rudeness and violence in our world and our own inner sufferings. Amidst all this, my biggest problem is I keep forgetting things I know about being a light. So I thought it might be helpful to write some of these things down — sort of a list of things to remember when your batteries are low.

One of the first things I want to remember is that a lot of people who probably thought they weren’t making much difference have profoundly affected my life. When I’ve looked around in my life for a light to remind me who I am, such people were there, shining quietly. Maybe you’re one of them, or maybe you’re doing the same for someone else, even as we speak.

I want to remember that and I want you to know it too.

(First in a brief series.)

Painting by Troy Chapman

1 comment:

Richard said...

Thank you much Troy at this moment, just when it was the soul food I needed. Sometimes when we feel the most inadequate, God's spirit still comes through us. Maybe more so when we are empty, than when we are full ... a friend and I were talking about being a light in the world one time, and he said when you have goodness in your heart, each time you open your mouth, goodness will come through you ... Good hearing your message ...