There’s something very comforting and welcoming in seeing a light in the window when you get to your destination. Whether you’re a weary traveler, a visitor, or simply coming home, that porch light, window light, or driveway light makes you feel like you can find rest in that place. There’s an understanding between the owners of the light and those outside – if it is on: we will welcome you; if it is off: we are not available.
Come Halloween, all the kids in the neighborhood know – don’t bother the houses with no lights on. And, if the light is on – even if the way is rough because there are 47 steep stairs to climb – you are welcome to knock for a treat. In fact, the people at the top of those stairs are usually so happy that someone persevered and made the trek to their door, that they give them a double or triple share of the bounty.
Thinking back, it was the lack of a kitchen light as I walked down the path to my mother’s apartment, that let me know something was terribly wrong. The kitchen light was always on, and more often than not, I’d see her curly head popping in and out of view. If she knew I was coming, I would see her puttering about the kitchen to put on the tea. On that day, as my young children and I made our way down the path – the kitchen window was dark, there was no bobbing head, there was no smiling wave, and her door was closed when I walked in the building.
Fear rising, I called through the door.
I put my key in the lock.
The door was chained.
Panicked, I called again and thought I heard a groan. I moved the children back and crashed through the door to break the chain.
Finding her collapsed on the floor, head bloody and swollen from the fall, incapacitated because of the massive stroke that felled her – I was undone.
So blinded by grief was I that I could see no light left to follow. Mom never regained consciousness, and when she finally went home to be with the Lord 38 days later, I was plunged into a darkness unlike any I had ever known.
But just because I couldn’t see it didn’t mean the light was out.
Just about a month after her death, I stood in the kitchen, hiding as I quietly sobbed. My toddler was in the living room, playing with a sing-along book. She pressed one of the buttons and began singing the verse she knew best – not at all the one that was written, but the one my mother sang over and over to her. It was the first time I caught a glimpse of the light that had never stopped shining – the light that would lead me back from the depths of my despair.
I am so blessed to have had my mother. I am even more blessed and eternally grateful that she planted the seed and cultivated the flower of her Christian faith in me. Even more, I am thankful to God for always keeping the light on for me.
John 1:5: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.