You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your God.
Today we are hosting an awareness event for National Human Trafficking day. I just left the street corner where several of us stood in the cold mist holding signs that hopefully help raise some awareness if not a few eyebrows. Later tonight, we are hosting speakers and a candle lighting ceremony followed by a fair trade cocoa and coffee reception. I have mixed feelings about the street presence, but I’ll save that for another conversation.
I’ve planned lots of community awareness events over the years – more than I can count, on more issues than we have space to list here. It’s like going on a first date. What should we do to put our best foot forward, will they hear and like what we say? What do I wear? Will there be a second date? How about a long-term commitment? It sounds silly when you use that metaphor but it’s pretty true to my experience. Then there’s always the struggle with bigger is better. So if only 50 people show up, was it a success or a failure? What do you do if only 5 people show up?
I recently had the chance to spend some time with my best friend. She’s been with me on my justice journey from the beginning. In fact, she is the one who steered me to that particular path. Over dinner, we were talking and she shared with me that she is feeling restless, that she’s waiting for her chance to do something outside of her home and job that changes the world for the good.*
What you don’t know about my friend is that she is an amazing mother of four children. I’ve had the great joy of knowing them as they’ve grown into emotionally and spiritually healthy young adults. They genuinely care for the world around them and take that into account in their daily lives and work. They also have healthy happy relationships and are passing that same gift on to their children and young families as well as their friends who weren’t so lucky to have my friend as their mom. And so I asked her, if all she did in this life, was that, to be an amazing mom of four, would it be enough?
But that’s not all she has done. She’s been a calm and steady presence at a university where young adults aren’t always encouraged to question and explore the larger questions of justice and spirituality. In her quiet, unassuming office, people just seem to know that she’s a safe place to stop, share and ask some really hard questions of themselves and of their experience of the world. She’s there, unconditionally listening, offering support. I have no doubt that some of these students have gone on to do their part in transforming this world to become a better place for all.
In the new film, “The Hobbit”, when Gandalf is asked why he’s recruited this little Hobbit to take on this great challenge to save Middle Earth; he says, ”[Many] believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? I don’t know. Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”
So I ask you, would it be enough? Would it be enough if we all pledged to be the best parents, grandparents, and workers in our given professions we can be? Would it be enough to do what we can, when we can – even if it’s just sending out prayers and thoughts of love and healing to the world around us? Would it be enough to enthusiastically welcome 5 people to our service, showing them the same attention and importance we would show 50 or 500? Sometimes more isn’t better it’s just more. When we discount our greatness in the small things that bring forth the Light, we give a little more to the darkness. Thank you for sharing your Light.
On the path,
*I share this with her permission. I wanted her to post – I’m Anna’s Best Friend and I approve this message. But I forgot to ask.