It is said you never realize how much you miss something until it is gone. As my toe came into painful contact against the kitchen table leg, I wryly agreed. “OUCH!” I yelped. “Doggone it! It sure would be nice to have some light in here!”
We were suffering through the aftermath of one of the worst snow storms to hit our area in years. Power lines all over the tri-county area had gone down, and although workers were trying hard to get everything restored, my patience had just about reached its limits.
“What was that honey?” my husband questioned from somewhere in the dark.
Holding my bruised, throbbing toes in my hand, I bit my lip before responding.
“I said I wish the power company would get on the ball and restore our service. I’ll be lucky to have ANY skin left on my toes before this is all over.”
“You stub another one?”
“Uhmmm…yes.” I answered, thinking sarcastically to myself, “No, duh.” Living without lights for over four days didn’t bring out the best in me, obviously. “Where are you anyhow? This disembodied voice thing is beginning to get on my nerves.”
“I’m in the family room.”
“Great,” I thought. I would have to navigate two steps in pitch blackness to get there. Noticing a faint glow emanating from that direction, I asked him if he had a candle he could share.
“Yep, I’m coming.”
Watching the flickering light bob closer, I see his face eerily illuminated above it. “Good grief, I feel like I’m trapped in a tacky horror movie. All I can see is a disembodied head, approaching.”
“Muhaaaahaaaaaaaa, I vwant to suck your blooooooood,” he responds, ducking his head towards my neck.
“For heaven’s sake, Jerry,” I scold, “I’m not in the mood for your cheesy Barnabus Collins rendition. My toe hurts and I’m sick of living in this perpetual darkness, doing everything by candlelight and cooking on our wood stove.”
“I’m sure they’ll have everything up and running by this afternoon,” Jerry said reassuringly. “I heard that some areas had theirs restored yesterday evening.”
“Well, bully for them.” I was definitely not in the mood to be happy for someone else. I evidently suffered from light deprivation, compounded by crippled toes.
“Mary,” my husband rebuked.
“What, Jerry?” I snapped. “Don’t start scolding me in your “let’s be reasonable” voice. It irritates me to no end when you act so long suffering, as if I am being unreasonable to want lights and power again.” Grabbing the candle, I stormed off down the hall as best I could while limping. It is hard to make an impressive exit when one can’t walk correctly.
Hearing him bump into something in the kitchen as he went in search of another candle brought a self-satisfied smile to my face for a moment. “Good,” I thought smugly, “Hope it hurt.”
My smugness quickly transformed into disgrace when I heard God’s gentle voice correcting me. “Do you really enjoy the fact that he is in pain, Mary?”
"No, Lord, I don’t. I’m sorry.”
“You are complaining about being without light, daughter, yet you know that you have everlasting light at your disposal. There are many walking in eternal darkness.”
“Yes, Lord, I know. I’m sorry.” Close to tears now over my behavior, I ask Him what I can do.
“Share my light, daughter. This is temporary for you, but there are some in your area who suffer like this all winter, who do not know me. You complain over skinned toes, but they are suffering from aching spirits and broken hearts. You too were once a child of darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as a child of that light.”
Shamed, I bow my head. I had let the situation get the best of me, and had forgotten what it felt like to live in eternal darkness. Looking at the candle I still held, I realized that it did not illuminate much, but still had the power to push back the darkness. I had an eternal light which held the same power. I just needed to remove the bushel I had hidden it under. Hearing my husband still trying to find his way in the kitchen, I returned to share my light where it was currently needed the most.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16