Light! Nature’s resplendent robe;
Without whose vesting beauty
All were wrapt in gloom.
(Francis Thompson Shelley)

I DOUBT IF THERE HAS EVER BEEN A LITERATURE IN ANY CULTURE IN WHICH LIGHT WAS NOT A SYMBOL FOR TRUTH AND GOODNESS. And likewise, darkness has always been a symbol for untruth and evil. These symbols are universal because the conflict between good and evil is universal. “What excites and interests the looker-on at life, what the romances and the statues celebrate, and the grim civic monuments remind us of, is the everlasting battle of the powers of light with those of darkness” (William James).

Should we not want, in every possible way, to be the friends of light, influencing those around us in ways that shed light rather than spread darkness? Rather than darken, should we not wish to brighten?

Truth. This is, by far, the greatest form of light, and it’s even more important than the physical light that permits our eyes to see. It is hard to imagine a problem in the world that does not stem from untruth, delusion, or misunderstanding. We can have no greater mission than to seek truth — and then devote ourselves to its influence.

Healing. Truth has a healing effect mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, just as light has that effect physically. Disease and dysfunction fester in the darkness, so to whatever extent we can illuminate the lives of others, we will be agents of healing and health.

Hope. Few things in life are more precious than hope. Worse than no hope, however, is false hope. So again, it’s the light of truth that is needed. We bestow a benefit anytime we give someone hope, and we do this by dispelling the discouragement that comes from falsehood.

So whether it is truth, healing, or hope that comes from our actions, we need to be givers of light. And as Edith Wharton reminded us, “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Are you looking, then, to give a first-rate gift to your loved ones? Consider being a light-giver. Help others see things a little more clearly. Influence them with truth, healing, and hope.

“I don’t have to light all the world, but I do have to light my part” (Anonymous).

Gary Henry — +

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