I think it's the Catholic blood in me or something.
Lately, however, I have not been lighting my candle into dark mornings because
1) daylight savings time (the mornings are brighter), and
2) I'm sleeping.
And I don't know where it comes from but when my alarm goes off in the morning, I have been coming up with some ridiculous half-asleep excuses to press Snooze.
Like, "I was having a nightmare and it's not good to wake up out of a nightmare. I deserve to go back to sleep and try again."
Or, "If I get up, I'll wake everyone else up and that would be selfish."
And my personal favorite which I'm surprised I even remember from my obviously drunken-sleep-stupor, "I'm like a garden and sleep is my water. If I don't get enough, all the flowers will die. God doesn't want my flowers to die, right?"
Somehow though, my coherent will-power broke through this morning and I'm up.
I didn't light my candle though, because I'm not that kind of up. The happy kind. I'm not in the mood for ambiance, I'm just barely struggling for obedience here.
So I'm staring numbly into the Psalms, sipping bitter black tea, letting the electric fan flip the pages back and forth. And then they settle and I see a few verses with a penciled box around them. And also a scribbled little heart, which means at some point I got really excited about what they said.
For it is you, Oh Lord, who lights my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
I think about the last time I lit my candle.
The abrasive strike of the match against the box. The sulfuric pop of a chemical reaction as it catches, sparks fire. On a new candle, it takes a moment to let the wax coating drip away from the wick before the braid is exposed and it finally takes. And then everything softens, warms, glows.
It's a lamp in the dark.
And the Bible says the Word is a lamp to my feet and here it says I'm a lamp, too- just an unlit one.
I look at my Bible in my lap, a fire all it's own. Like a burning match at my finger-tips. I flip through the pages and they crack a little, like Bibles do.
Sulfuric pops. Sparks of fire waiting to take, wanting contact and a chemical reaction. Don't we know how flammable we are?
I draw it near. Nearer. Hug it, even.
If only it worked that way.
For whatever reason, my wick is heavy coated these days. It takes more than a little spark to get me fired up.
Sometimes it takes time. Waiting. Persistence in the passion until the right parts are exposed. Waking up, showing up, cracking the match again and again. Trusting that eventually the right parts will melt and the flame will catch once more.
God? I know he's a fire.
The Word, it's a fire.
The Kingdom is fire unquenchable.
And me... I am a lamp. A little Heaven's Fire Container on earth.
Hasn't he been trying to tell me? Hasn't he been trying to light me?
Isn't that what he wants to do with all of us?
His little lamps?
Because when he lights up our darkness, when our lamps are burning, suddenly we have the power to light up other darknesses, too.