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One Cobble at a Time

Shining a Light

Sandra Tayler's Journal

responsible woman

A cobble by itself is just a small stone, but when many of them lay together they create a path . My life is made up of many discrete parts. I have to find ways to fit them all into place so that I can continue to journey where I desire to go. This journal records some of the cobbles that create my path.

Shining a Light

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responsible woman

Among the lessons given in church today was told the story of the lower light. It is a smaller light on the shoreline which (in a world before GPS) was used in conjunction with the lighthouse to help ships navigate to safe harbor. A story was told of how failure to keep the lower light burning nearly led to disaster. Then a rendition of Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy (#335 in the LDS Hymnal) was played. Something in the stories and song spoke to me. It did so despite the my automatic emotional shield which goes up any time I sense that I’m about to be told a tragic story from which we should all learn a lesson. I like to pick my own lessons, thanks. I like to discover them for myself rather than being told what they ought to be. Yet the idea of being a light to others spoke to me. We are all commanded to be lights to others. I can think of dozens of people who have been so for me. They are people who taught me how to be a friend, how to parent, how to think about injustice, how to make the world a better place. They are people who live in my neighborhood, who write books I read, who I read about on the internet, who I pass in the grocery store. Most of them will never know how they have helped me or even who I am. Listening to the hymn, I felt that I need to be doing the same for others. The thing is that if I try to set up camp and show off my light, I’ll likely put it on some hill where it will do no one any good. I sent out a silent prayer, what is my light and where should I shine it? What will be most useful right now? Clear and calm, the answer was: write.

I imagine Heavenly Father as getting kind of tired with me lately, in much the same way that I get tired when I have to tell my kids to clean up after themselves. I keep saying it over and over, in a dozen different ways. I give them instructions, I order, I plead, I cajole. The actions involved are simple, yet somehow they find other things to do. Then one day a child comes to me and says “guess what? If I just pick up after myself things don’t get so messy.” Then I have to bite my tongue and be grateful the lesson was learned. Similarly, I find many good things to do which are not writing. At times those things are the way I shine my light. Last winter I was to finish my office remodel. This year every time I reach out to ask for direction I’m told to just go write. I’m beginning to imagine that instruction with an exasperated tone. So I should do that. I should write. I don’t know what the outcome will be. It is entirely possible that I’m just shining this light to illuminate my own path. From an eternal perspective lighting the path of a single person is sufficient reason to shine.

Funny how when I am struggling with large and difficult things, I pray for calmness and simplicity. When I’m given calm and simple instructions I wonder “that’s it?” and look for additional things to do. I have to remember that good works do not always require epic efforts. Time to pull out my book and increase the word count.

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