“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
This morning I woke up to rain drumming the roof, a dreary Monday, the 70-somethingth day of quarantine, ahead of me a full day helping five kids do school at home and doing farm chores in the rain. The prospect did not delight me. I walked out of my bedroom and said to my husband, “Well, this is buns” (our family’s all-purpose negative adjective).
I was immediately reminded of the childhood song I had learned:
This is the day (echo: this is the day)
That the Lord has made (that the Lord has made)
I will rejoice (I will rejoice)
And be glad in it (and be glad in it)
I repented and spent some time thinking and praying. I was reminded that I have the power to cultivate beauty in my home and that even on days like today I can create an atmosphere that points my children (and myself) to the creator of all things beautiful. When sun streams through the windows and birdsong rides in on the breeze, it comes easily. But perhaps it is days like today, when I must fight for it, when I deliberately light the candle in the darkness, that beauty shines brightest.
What this looked like in my home today was first nurturing my own soul with scripture and poetry. (Though, keeping it real here… I’m reading straight through the Bible this year, and today I mostly read lots of betrayals and battle scenes in 2 Samuel, which weren’t the most uplifting, though still worthwhile, I know. The poetry, however – Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” – was breathtaking.) I also buried my nose several times in a bouquet of lilacs, the official scent of Heaven, I’m certain.
I turned on every light and lamp in our kitchen/dining/living area to counteract the gloom. I lit a candle and cracked the kitchen window to waft in fresh (if chilly) air. I turned on my most achingly beautiful album, Loreena McKennitt’s “As the Wind Shakes the Barley” (pure poetry in itself). For elevenses, I brewed a pot of raspberry tea and sliced up the pumpernickel sourdough loaf I made last night.
I also washed dishes and thoroughly wiped down my kitchen because full sinks and paint-and-crumb-and- maple-syrup-coated counters on a glorious outdoorsy-day is one thing, but it is not to be born on an inside, fighting-for-joy day.
What I’ve come to realize is we are sensuous beings. God created us with five senses that each delight in being filled with loveliness, not only to bring us pleasure (though it absolutely does!), but also to give us a window into Himself. He is in all things good and beautiful and our senses are some of His best gifts to us. Flickering light matters. A tidy kitchen (for those three minutes it lasts) matters. The dancing lilt of poetry on the tongue matters. The fragrance of little purple flowers matters. The harmony of violins and a soprano voice matters. A cool breeze on the cheek matters. Hot tea with milk matters. Crusty bread with a hint of molasses matters. If they didn’t, God would not have created them or given us the faculties to enjoy them. He didn’t have to, but He did, and they helped changed my heart today. Thank you, my gracious God.
So as we soldier forward through stay-at-home orders and long rainy days and so-much togetherness under this roof, I will continue to fight for beauty and light the candle.
Kara, I love reading your blog postings,
It is indeed a time unlike any we have known.
Your message of finding light in the darkness is one we all can heed, ‘during this time or anything else.
Thank you, Miss Severance. I’m honored you would take the time to read my blog. I appreciate your encouragement.
Wow this really resonates with me Kara 💜
Tera, thank you. It’s always encouraging to hear that others feel the same.
Yes! This is great spiritual warfare. Never should we be victims of our own feelings and emotions.
I guess I hadn’t thought about it in terms of spiritual warfare, but of course it is! Satan always wants to steal our joy. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Polly.
So beautiful, and so true ❤️ What a unique time to be a mama.
Thank you, my friend! Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
So beautiful and so true. Thank you for bringing it all back into focus. And yes, lilacs are the scent of Heaven. <3
Carol, you are such an encouragement. Thank you.
You are a gifted writer. I really could see and feel the emotions that you wrote about. God bless you!
Oh Kara what a delight I felt like I was right there with you. On gloomy days I usually like a candle. God has given us such beauty it’s hard to image heaven. I really believe you are an example of what God intended women to be. Thank you.
Bonnie, you are always so encouraging. It is hard to accept such a generous compliment, so I will just say, thank you, with all my heart. Blessings to you.
Jan, I appreciate you taking the time to read and to encourage me. Thank you. Miss seeing you!