March 19, 2019•593 words
You have a candle. It has a beautiful flame, unique and in colors not often seen in this world.
You want everyone to share the joy you get from that candle, to understand where the flame comes from, to love its colors like you do.
But it’s not like any candle they’ve seen. And so you have to burn it brighter, hotter, really let them get a good look at it and the light it casts on your face, let them see you illuminated in its beauty.
Unfortunately, you only have the one candle. And when it’s spent, it’s spent.
It breaks your heart, but as you’ve watched that candle burn, you know… you can’t just give it to everyone, share it with everyone. You can’t make everyone look at it. There just isn’t enough to go around. You’ll burn it down to your fingertips getting it bright enough to even get them to consider looking at it. You'll eventually not be able to show anyone anything.
Some people will know you have a beautiful light and they beg to see it. But they’re carrying their own candle and won’t put it down, so you’ll need to burn yours much more brightly for them to see it. You'll risk burning it down even faster.
Some people you desperately want to share the light with, people you want to tell of the joy it brings you. But they think it’s a strange color and complain they can’t see you well by its light. If only it were a yellow flame like their candles burned with. Then they could see. Why isn’t your flame yellow?
Some wave you away when you show up with your candle. We'll let you have it, but don't bring it too close, they say. It makes me uncomfortable.
Some want to extinguish your flame. There’s no place for that here, they say. It's unnatural.
A few people, though, have their own candles that burn in their own, unique, beautiful way—like but also wholly unlike yours—and you can just touch your candle to theirs, creating something new, a unity creating brand-new colors, never seen before, yet clearly composed of each of your flames.
And that’s when it’s just you two. You can add more, and more, and more. Each of you contributing your own quiet, small flame, never burning any of your candles too much, and yet creating a robust and glorious show of light and warmth and love.
Even as you stand there, making a delightful, colorful symphony of beauty, those who do not understand the beauty you have are grumbling, saying that you all should just get candles out of the boxes they brought. They all burn the same way, and look—there are so many, we will never run out. It will be much easier for you if you just burn these candles like us.
And you take a stand and say, no. I will not extinguish this beauty. I will delight in it, share it with those who can see it as it is, those who will put their own lights down, those who will defend its quiet beauty.
And maybe, just maybe, even though they have simple candles themselves, they can use what they have to illuminate the way. They can show everyone how they can put down their bright and brash fire. They can show everyone how to approach with love and understanding—forget themselves and shed their preconceptions of what a candle shaould look like. Look at what you have to show them.
Your beautiful flame.