January 11th, 2014
There’s a place in the world that many of us are familiar with but we haven’t all been. It’s cold, very cold, you have to wear many layers to survive there. It’s also very dark, there is no light at all from the sun. Many people here are in search of the light. The light that will show them the way and the light that will keep them warm. The people here know of light because they used to be able to see it. The people here know of warmth because they used to be able to feel it. But now, it is cold here and it is dark here and the search for light continues.
Most that are new to this place search far and wide, refusing to give up until they find what they are looking for. Many, however, have given up their own search for the light. Some have given up completely and say they no longer care about finding the light, while others, dream of the day when someone will show them the way to the light.
There were rumors that some did find the light but that they disappeared instantly after finding it. Without proof or certainty, many shared the stories of those who have found the light. They would call the people in these stories “hope”. And many would think to themselves, “Hope found the light, and so will I!”. For most, these stories are what kept them going.
One day, a young girl was out searching for the light by herself when her lantern burnt out. She couldn’t see a thing, not even her hand in front of her face. She was so afraid, she was lost, she couldn’t see and she panicked. She started running as fast as she could, scared for her life, desperately trying to find a light to show her the way. Running as fast as she could, suddenly, she tripped and went flying forward through the air. Before she hit the ground, it was like slow motion. The thought ran through her mind “what were you thinking running through the dark unable to see the ground?! now you’re flying through the air probably about to smack right into a tree!” And just then she hit something, but it wasn’t hard and it wasn’t a tree. It was a deep, cold, wet, puddle of mud. Once her momentum had come to a halt she was actually thankful for the mud. She isn’t hurt because it broke her fall but as she stood up afterward she felt the weight of the mud stuck to all of her clothes. It was heavy, and she was tired from running and getting herself all worked up.
She walked a few yards out of the mud before collapsing from exhaustion. She curled up into a ball on the ground. She was freezing. She was beyond tired. And she had no light, no fire and nothing to keep her warm. She had to get out of her clothes. They were soaked in the cold mud and weighed a ton. Layer by layer she began to peel off the clothes she had worn longer than she could remember. While she was unbuttoning the last layer, she thought to herself “I don’t even remember putting this on” and that’s when she saw something peeking through the crack where her shirt was unbuttoned. It was bright and made her squint to look at it. Her heart began to race, she was panicked but this wasn’t at all the same. She ripped off her shirt and a bright golden light shined within her chest. It was so bright she had to look away and that’s when she noticed….
The entire area around her was in her sight. She looked at the ground and saw piles of clothes, soaked in mud, surrounded by green grass. She hadn’t seen color in so long she forgot what it looked like. The grass was so vibrant green she couldn’t blink and she didn’t have to because the tears kept her big eyes wet. The gigantic puddle of mud was only a few feet away. The girl stood up scanning everything around her. It was a beautiful meadow with a shallow stream running through it — thus creating that huge mud puddle. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the scene, it was like seeing color and light for the first time.
Everything was so clear, as far as she could see. That’s when she noticed off in the distance a sparkle of light reflecting off something. The moment she saw that sparkle a bolt of energy shot from her head to her toes. After the shock, she focused her eyes on the object, it was the lantern. She had dropped it when she began to run from the terror of the dark. She thought “I won’t be needing that anymore…” And that’s when it hit her, she didn’t disappear, she was still standing in the exact same place. Letting her light lead the way, she ran as fast as she could but this time, she wasn’t in a panic, she knew exactly where she was going. She was off to share with everyone the secret of the light!
She kept on running until she heard a group of people talking and ran towards the voices. When she arrives, 3 men are sitting in a small circle huddled around a small fire trying to keep warm. As she approaches they don’t even notice her coming. As she’s right upon them they haven’t even noticed her arrival. So she says “Hey! Check this out! Can you see the light?!”. The men turn around startled, looking around in her direction but unable to lay eyes on her. One of the men yells “Is this some sort of joke?!” To which the girl responds, “No! I’m right here, can’t you see me?!” Startled again, at how close she is without their knowing one of them grumbles “Bugger off we don’t have time for this nonsense” and they all turn around to face the fire.
She doesn’t understand, she can see everything, her light is a hundred times brighter than their fire, what are they talking about?! Out of sheer curiosity, she finds a shirt at the bottom of her bag and puts it on. She says “So you mean to tell me you really can’t see me?”. Annoyed, the men turn around and are startled once again, but this time by the sight of the girl standing there towering over them. “Yea, yea so we can see ya, what do you want? We don’t have time for games.” The girl responds “I’ve come to share with you the secret of the light”. The men all laughed. One of them laughed so hard he almost fell out of his seat. The girl exclaims “I’m serious! I know the secret! The light is underneath our clothes!” The men laughed even harder as if it were the funniest thing they had heard in a very long time. After at least a minute of them laughing in her face, one of them says “Little girl, you know nothing! If the light were underneath our clothes, we never would have put them on to begin with! Now go! Be gone with you we haven’t time for silly little girls with wild imaginations”.
The girl rushed away from the men with tears streaming down her face, she thought to herself “How is this possible? It’s not in my imagination! It’s as real as real can be! If they can’t see my light, how will I convince them where to look to find their own? Oh if only they would just trust me, believe in me, they would see I’m right!”.
As the girl sits in the middle of the meadow, in trance from the bright colorful beauty she wonders to herself “How can I get them to see the light?” and Zing! A bolt of energy passes through the girl again and she knows just what to do. She takes a small box out of her backpack that she used to carry her keepsakes. She takes out her things and puts them back in her pack. She sits back, palms facing up pushed together with the open box resting on them. She closes her eyes and looks for the source of the light inside her. She finds it buried deep within her chest surrounding her heart. She focuses all of her attention and all of her energy into expanding the light inside her chest. She can feel the warmth of the growing light emanating off her skin. She continues to focus on building this light up so that it has nowhere to go but out. The light gets so big and bright, it flushes down her arms into her palms and fingers. Her hands get brighter and brighter and the box begins to glow. The girl moves the rest of the energy in her arms down to per palms and into the box. The light silently seeps in just before she closes the lid of the box.
She brings the box back to the men and says “I have a gift for you. I know you don’t believe me but I’ve taken some of the light inside me and put it into this box for you.” Before she hands it over she pulls the box in close and says “What’s inside this box is a tiny piece of the whole. It won’t last long, but it will give you light and warmth to get you through, so use it wisely. I suggest waiting for a moment when you need it most. When you run out of light in your lantern, when it’s dark, and you’re cold, and you’re scared, and when you stop believing in hope, THEN open the box.” Two of the men laughed almost as hard as they laughed the time before. One of them choking out as he laughs “We don’t believe in ‘hope’ in the first place!” and continued laughing so hard he started to drool. But the one man, who almost fell out of his seat the last time they met, was staring at the box without blinking. Suddenly he shoots out his arm with his palm outstretched and says “Let’s have it then” and the girl placed the box in the man’s hand.
The girl says goodbye and leaves with a smirk. “He will see”, she says to herself as her smirk stretches from ear to ear. The two men that were laughing say to the one with the box “Don’t tell me you actually believe in that mumbo jumbo?!” To which the man replies, “No, of course not, I just like the box”. They all laugh as he stuffs the box away into his pack as they go on with their previous conversations.
Months pass and the men find themselves trudging through a storm. They are unable to keep their lanterns lit and unable to light them back up after they’ve gone out. It’s impossible to find shelter without light. One of the men collapses from exhaustion without the others knowing. Unable to hear each other over the loud sounds of the storm, they leave him behind.
As he lay on the ground, so weak he can barely move, without light, without warmth, without hope, he heard a ringing in his ear and out of nowhere he remembered the young girl’s face. He smiled with the thought of her, at first because of the laugh he had and second because he remembered he still had the box. The man thought to himself “If I”m going to die here, I might as well find out what’s really in the box”. He musters up the rest of his strength to get the box out of his pack. He cracks open the box and low and behold, he can see the light shining through the crack. When he goes to open it more, the box is stuck. He uses every bit of energy he has, straining to open the box. Veins popping out of his neck and forehead he keeps trying until he passes out there on the ground, with the cracked open box still in hand.
The man finally wakes back up by the burning sensation caused by the heat of the box in his palm. “The box is a heater!” the man exclaims as he rubs his hands together and cups them near the box. As some time passes, the man is sweating profusely and decides to peel back some layers. He removes, piece after piece until he was down to the last shirt. He can feel it’s soaked in sweat and decides he will take it off to let it dry. The second he gets the shirt off he is blinded by the most intense light he had ever seen! Shocked by the light he quickly puts his shirt back on and closes his eyes with his hands on his chest. He thought to himself “I can see!” and he ripped the shirt back off him, standing up to get a look at the world around him.
The scene takes his breath away. Just before he almost passes out again he gasps for air, filling his lungs back up completely, followed by the greatest sigh of relief and more tears streaming down his face then ever had before. He could see. And the girl was right.
The man said out loud “If only I would’ve had faith in her…” and suddenly the small box flies open with the light inside exploding and fizzling out. He picked up the box and saw a tiny piece of paper inside folded up. He opened it up to find a message written in his own handwriting that read: “You did”.