*Profound apologies for disappearing for a month. Sometimes life presents us with “new normals” that require quiet reflection before they can be processed and assimilated. This is perhaps a blog for another day. Anyway, I’m back!
I have been thinking a lot lately about people I consider to be “Bearers of Light.” Paulus Berenson (from my first blog entry) is a Bearer of Light. My father was a Bearer of Light. He guided me to always grow toward the light and to use my light to encourage others out of the darkness.
One of the first people I met when I moved to Maine left this life a few weeks ago. Ken Read was a Light Bearer. Two months before I moved to Maine from the Philadelphia area (while here on a vacation/house hunting trip) I ended up in Maine Medical Center having emergency quadruple by-pass surgery. Being a driven woman, the house was found and purchased, the arrangements were made and I moved right on schedule. Before the boxes were unpacked, I was enrolled in cardiac rehab.
My first day in phase 2 rehab at the local sports and fitness club I met a gentleman in his early 80’s on the treadmill. He was intelligent, had a broad base of knowledge, was passionately opinionated (as am I) and had a wicked good sense of humor. I swear I could have walked the equivalent of a marathon while engaged in conversation with Ken. My number one task each time I arrived for my rehab session was to arrange my stations to wind up next to Ken on the treadmill. Those opportunities for dialogue became highlights in my week.
A Light Bearer is someone who leads quietly, by example. They are usually very intelligent. They are people who examine issues from all angles before making choices and when they do make those choices they will defend them with mind, body and spirit. Light Bearers are people with strong principles and solid integrity. By taking the time to quietly observe those around us, we will find the Light Bearers in this world. If we are attentive, they will always lead by example out of the darkness.
Ironically, while sharing stories about Ken at his memorial service, his sons and granddaughters told tales of some of his holiday gifts which were usually a bit “out of the box” in a figurative sense. Ken apparently kept returning to the theme of “lights.” They had all been the recipient of sources of light in every conceivable color, shape, design and intended function from camping lanterns to lamps to be worn around your head to snake lights and lighted key chains. I thought of my father, whose gifts of light were not quite so obvious and I thought of Jill Elizabeth, a jewelry designer who crafted this piece called The Egyptian Light Bearer. Her work is created with a mirrored tile used in construction, beads, jewels and colored wire.
The piece that tied all of this together was the memory of hearing Robert Fulghum speak. He was relaying a story from his book, It was on Fire When I Lay Down on It. It involved a shard of mirror whose sharp edge had been rounded and carried as a reminder of the meaning of life. I read this story at my father’s memorial service. It concludes: I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have, I can reflect light into the dark places of this world – into the black places in the hearts of men – and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.
Ken obviously feared that his sons and granddaughters may, at times in their life, feel they had entered a dark place. He wanted to be sure he had prepared them to find their way out of any darkness and back into the light. I will miss his light…