I can’t begin to say how infinite I feel,
When I was a teenager, I had a friend whose father worked for a company that distributed church supplies: robes and prayer books; votive holders and incense. They also made those candles, the ones with little paper circles to catch dripping wax that we used for candle services and, later, the seemingly unending mourning vigils. Whenever I stood next to someone and passed the flame from one candle to another, it felt like having that friend beside me, and it was a comfort.
Humans like the idea of light. Presumably since our early days, flame had a powerful ability to keep terrifying and terrible things at bay, and in centuries since, we've used it for emotional protection as much as physical. We hold candlelight vigils to comfort one another, light votives and lanterns, hang strings of light around our windows to help us get through long winters. There are fires that don't go out, that we protect against all enemies because their light holds our hope.
In one of last week's episodes of Positiviteeny, they were discussing the quotes they take inspiration and encouragement from, and Travis said that, rather than quotes, he tends to be inspired by the people who live hopefully. His example was Lin-Manuel Miranda: "Everything he does, where I'm like, 'I would like to be more like that, please.' That idea of just, like, I see somebody deal with stuff in a very real, but still positive way. Like, it is an inspiration to me and part of the reason I am who I am now is I see people who don't ignore that there is bad stuff happening and they don't say, like, 'And It will be fine. Don't worry about it,' but they also are able to approach it and deal with it in, I would say, a positive, but not fake-happy way."
When I wrote, a while back, about cinnamon rolls, it was this that I had in mind. These people are lights in darkness when all other lights go out, and I try, as well as I can, to do the same. But it's hard, being the light against a whole lot of darkness. It's exhausting, and an awful lot to ask of one person. Some people have an enduring spark that can start the chain when it's struggling, but expecting the spark to hold the darkness at bay on its own isn't realistic. Like those old candles with the paper rings, we have to keep passing the flame along, back and forth, lighting and re-lighting around the circle.
Find fuel; light the candle; pass it around.
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