I love the old adage, “it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” No one really knows where this expression originated. It has been attributed to such luminaries as Confucius, Eleanor Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy, but most sources conclude that it is likely an ancient proverb that has stood the test of time. And it is hauntingly timely.
Darkness abounds right now, if we choose to focus on it. We are weary of the push and pull of pandemic strictures, but the light is growing for us in that realm, as we cautiously heed the call to resume active social and work lives in the face of diminishing risk. We are shaken, if not shattered, by the struggles of the Ukranian people, but there are more candle bearers -- more shows of support and solidarity -- for their cause than can be counted at the moment. And the brightest of those candle bearers, miraculously, are the remarkable Ukranians themselves, who have utterly refused to surrender to the darkness that surrounds them.
Candles are symbols of hope; Amnesty International’s symbol, a barbwire- encircled candle, poignantly highlights that. They are a symbol of remembrance; the candles that are lit to honor fallen heroes and innocent victims poignantly convey that. But most of all, they are both a source and a symbol of illumination, its power to guide, elucidate and calm us with its gentle light.
Light a candle.