Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Little Lights Everywhere



The days just after my husband left are pretty much a blur now. I was in so much emotional pain, I could barely see straight.

I do remember, however, my friend, Lori, coming over that first day I was alone in the house and giving me a package of automatic night lights. I remember thinking it was such an odd present.

My world was falling apart and she was giving me little plastic night-lights?

I was sure she meant well, but I was confused. I had never used night-lights. Why would I need them?

I didn't understand. I thanked her and then set them aside.


Then, night fell.

Then I understood.

Lights that guide me.

I put one in the hallway and one in the dining room. Sensing the darkness, those trusty little lights come on at dusk and provide a soft glow for me all through the night. I can see them shining from my open bedroom door. If I need to go out to the kitchen, or make my way out to the living room, they light my way.

Lights that sustain me.

Before he moved to Virginia, Sonny Boy gave me about seven small flashlights he had gotten on sale. He had no idea of the events to come, but those little flashlights, placed all over the house, have been a comfort to me.

I have used them to search in the corners of dark drawers and to look under the bed when I can’t find my shoes. I have one beside my bed and one just inside the door to the garage. I take one out with me when I go walking at night.

Each time I use one, I think of Sonny Boy. He and his brother--my sons--those two beautiful stars in my universe, help me remember my place in the family constellation during this confusing time.

I may not be a wife to my husband any longer, but I those two steady sources of light will never exit from my sky.

By them, I will always be able to set my course in life.

Lights that comfort me.

In a post about two months ago, I bemoaned coming home to a darkened house on the night I teach late, and over and over again, you, my blogging buddies, suggested a timer on my lamp.

You would think I would have thought of that on my own, but at the time, I was dumbfounded and just stumbling through my days. It was a simple suggestion, but what a difference it has made.

I put the timer on and each night my lamp comes on at 5:30 and goes off at 9:30. I love the dependability of my timer. I love the dependability of the blogging community.

How do I get my arms around all of you?

Lights that humble me.

In one of the sweetest gestures, my blogging friend, Inkpuddle, wrote a note to me to tell me that she had remembered my post about my house being dark on Wednesday night. She wrote, “I thought of you and turned on a light in my living room today, right by the window, before I went in for the night shift. I guess I just wanted you to have a light on tonight, even if it was all the way in Atlanta and you wouldn’t really see it; it was all of the support behind it that I hoped you would feel.”

Her kindness brought tears to my eyes. A light in Atlanta. For me. No, I couldn't see it, but I could feel it.

Lights that warm me.

My friend Steve sent me a lovely heart-shaped candle holder and candles from his home in West Virginia to remind me that I am loved.

Another friend wouldn’t leave my house one night until she was sure my automatic porch light was working. She waited patiently to test it over and over again.

Periodically, my phone lights up with pictures of my great-nephew from my niece, or messages of love from my family and friends.

Lights. Lights. Everywhere beautiful little lights.

It is late November and so, now when I am out walking in the evening I am surprised and delighted by the Christmas lights that are popping up all over my neighborhood. I look at all those little lights, each one so little, but each one so important.

I smile as I pass by those displays and I think about these past three months and the things I have learned.

In the past, when my friends have faced difficulties, I have felt that my card, call, or hug, would be puny and insignificant in comparison to the weight of their plight. However, now I know that even the smallest light, physical or metaphorical, can lesson the heaviness of the darkness that will, inevitably, fall in all our lives.

I think back to my first night alone and Lori’s simple gift of those night-lights and I know now they were, of course, the perfect present.


Sensing darkness and automatically responding.

Lighting up a path for the temporarily lost.

Providing light, gentle guidance, warmth, and dependability.


Isn’t that what friendship is all about?


Little Lights.

Everywhere.

Beautiful little lights.


Thank you all.

I am grateful for each and every one.

77 comments:

Out on the prairie said...

What a nice story, I have the comfort of the nightlights around my homes.I enjoy not trying to find a switch and can get up and see fairly well.

Green Monkey said...

Really special post Betty. You're making lemonade And it's delicious!

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

When I light my candle today, know that it's shining its warmth and glowing for you. (((HUGS))) and Happy Wednesday!

Lin said...

It's amazing the little things you notice in times like these. You are very blessed, Betty, to have so much love around you. Look how much everyone cares about YOU! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betty .. wonderful reflection on lights .. and their guidance that we need so often .. the twinkly stars too .. Glad you have so many helping lights around .. may the glow worms surround you .. Hilary

Flartus said...

That's another lovely, and hopeful post. Now I understand why you've mentioned how much you enjoy my little comments (I kept wondering, "What did I say that was so memorable?") There's just something about Betty we want to keep afloat! I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving with Evan & friends. Lori...what a blessing, and what a clever, thoughtful friend.

Talli Roland said...

Aw, Betty. You've made me well up now. Beautiful post.

Nat said...

Just beautiful, Betty. You are an inspiration.

Kitty Moore said...

That's beautiful - and it's inspired me, I need to get some light in my life x

Loretta said...

Beautiful Post...an inspiration to all! Thanks for sharing.
Best Wishes,
Loretta

john said...

John 8:12

Zuzana said...

Dear Betty, this post brought tears to my eyes. I have felt so much hardship in my life, in the past year too, with incredible personal losses an tragedies...
And through it all, I had 3 good friends, shinning like beacons in the night, guiding me through the darkness of my life. Guiding me out of it until I stood on my two feet and found the light, full of love that shines on me now.
I can so relate to all those little lights in your life - whether literal or abstract, and the meaning of true friendship, at times coming from the most unlikely source.
May all the little lights guide you our of your own personal darkness...
xoxo

Leah J. Utas said...

It is good you have these lights in your life.

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

this is such a lovely post. Light can make all the difference in the world. :-))

SueAnn said...

Aww! What beautiful gifts you have received!! Brought a tear to my eye for sure.
I will never look at my night lights in the same way again.
I have an automatic candle in my bathroom and I love that little light!
Thinking of you now everytime I see it
Hugs
SueAnn

Barbara Shallue said...

What a beautiful post and reminder that the simplest gifts are the true treasure in our lives. I'm glad you have such wonderful friends lighting your way right now.

Linda said...

Well done, Betty. Beautifully written. And a good reminder to all of us that, even if we think what we have to offer is but a "dim light," a lot of dim lights together can make a difference in someone's life.

Slamdunk said...

I am glad to hear that your friends are doing the little things that make a difference in difficult times.

I like the idea of light timers--a good safety strategy as well.

Mandy_Fish said...

This is beautiful.

Eva Gallant said...

This was certainly an en-lightening post! Glad your blogger friends have helped you to feel "light-"hearted!

Noelle said...

What an amazingly beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

Old Kitty said...

Aww beautiful BB! You are the brightest light of them all! Keep shining! Take care
x

Annie said...

May things brighten for you with each passing day Betty.
Hugs

Bouncin' Barb said...

This was one of the most moving blogs I've read in a long time. I'm so glad you've turned your darkness into lots of light and I sense you are even smiling brightly as well. It's a beautiful thing. You're a beautiful person! Hugs.

KLZ said...

your writing is so beautiful - you are a light for so many. Here's hoping the lights continue to warm, guide and comfort you.

Marg said...

That sure was a great gift. It is so nice to have some light to lead the way for you. Fantastic post. Never thought about lights in that way before now. We sure will send Rudolph right over to your house. Be sure you have some haytinis for him. He is partial to those. If he gets a little drunk, just let him sleep it off. Take care.

Liz said...

I'm so happy to hear that seeing all the Christmas lights makes your heart a bitt happier.

Yay for friends like Lori.

Pamela Gold said...

What a heartfelt post. All the way through.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Waaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!

Now you've got me crying into my leftover mashed potato pancake!!!

Betty, that was beautiful! And inspiring - encouraging me to tell my suffering friend that I love her, and I'm thinking of her.

Surely God loves a grateful heart just a teeny bit more? How can He not love it when His children are thankful for the little things? How can He not love it when His children reach out in love to His other children?

Hugs! Leavin' a light on for you here in the Boonies!

Daryl said...

We've never formally met, but we have a lot of friends in common ... I stopped by to say hi and got to read you latest post .. and now I am going to keep a light on for you .. yup, if you stand on your tippytoes you can see it shining here in NYC

Madi and Mom said...

BB
The courage and sheer determination you display each and every day are guiding lights for me. You are an amazing woman.
God Bless you,
Hugs C

Joyful said...

Beautiful post. Such a little thing and yet it means so much. I'm glad you have the lights. Hugs. xx

jenny_o said...

What a lovely post ... yes, please know we are thinking about you from many corners of the real world.

Ms. A said...

What a thoughtful gift from Lori! She knew you would need some light to guide you on your new path. Love your post!

Brian said...

You always light up our world!

Leanne said...

Oh, Betty. I just adore you. Every single word that your write, every single thought that you share. YOU add light in my life, my friend. And for that, I am forever grateful.

inkpuddle said...

I'm in the habit of leaving that same light on every Wednesday now. It just doesn't feel right to turn it off. I'm glad it helped, my dear. Know that the same light will be on until you no longer even notice it. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's the little things that matter when our world is upside down. Glad so many you offer you comfort.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Wow, Betty. This post speaks volumes. It's beautiful and honest and meaningful and bright.
High five to you for seeing the light :-)
xo jj

Gigi said...

I absolutely loved this post - even if it made me tear up.

Ann said...

Betty you light up so many other people's lives that you deserve to have some of it back.

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

Betty- beautiful words- I think of you often.

Daisy said...

This is such a sweet post, Betty. You are such a light yourself here in the blogging world. Your writing is thoughtful, kind, moving, and always well-done. Your words really are like hugs for us your readers. I hope all those beautiful lights continue to shine for you.

Susan said...

Well I am so glad that I found your blog. Now I feel a little less weird, although I believe the fact that I cannot sleep in total darkness is like closaphobia. My son actually cannot either, well one of them, the other can sleep in total darkenss.
I found a wonderful thing. Solar statues. I put out a certain amount of them out on sunny days and put them in my bedroom at night. Some if small enough just in sunny windows. I love them.
Thank you for letting me visit, you have a nice page.
Susan
http://amazingcouponanddiscountdeals.blogspot.com
http://cholesterolfreerecipes.blogspot.com

Brian (not the cat) said...

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

BECKY said...

Betty, I'm really running out of words to say how much I love your posts...your thoughts, the steps you've walked since HOB left, and the beauty in the way you express everything. Heartwarming and inspiring!

Ali said...

Oh what a fantastic post.. really really lovely. How I wish I was as thoughtful as your friend, I too have a friend going through the torture of separation and I feel so helpless sometimes struggling with what to do to help out. I think I know now what to do.....
You are so wonderful!!

Pat Tillett said...

What a great post! I'm glad you are feeling better and more resettled in your own home. Hang in there my friend! Everything gonna be okay!

Lora said...

this post is stunningly beautiful.

And may have just inspired me to leave a light on for someone who needs it, whispering a prayer as I leave for the day. How beautiful.

Lydia Kang said...

Your friend with the nightlights was very wise.

I think it speaks to what a wonderful person that you are, that you find yourself so ensconced in supportive people, bloggers, and loved ones.

Massive bear hugs, Betty! You rock. And what's even better, you're rocking onward.

Mamma has spoken said...

Lights, both real and metaphorically, makes a great post!
Glad you bought that timer.

Sush said...

Oh Betty, you bring tears to my eyes with your bright, light filled spirit. Your light shines on all of us and gives us the inspiration to carry on with grace.

Much love and light to you today and everyday!
Hugs~

karen said...

That was a beautiful analogy. When I was in your place it was so heartening to realize how many good friends I had that I hadn't realized were there before. People I thought of as "our" friends but not necessarily "my" friends. How wrong I was - I was flooded with friendship and beautiful gestures at a time I needed them badly. It still warms my heart to think back on those times and remember all the little kindnesses done for me. And it does me good to see all the growth and big strides I've made since - thanks to all of those friends and family members.

Peggy K said...

Tissue, please...love you, BB.

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

A touching post, Betty. It's the little things, really. xoxo :)

Catherine said...

I love this post Betty! Such beautiful thoughts. The warmth of friends ~ such a beautiful thing. I enjoy the night lights.

Awesome.
xo Catherine

Hilary said...

I wonder if you realize what a bright light you are for so many. So beautifully written.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Yes, your words and messages are so beautiful, Betty.
Keep faith.
xoRobyn

Baby Sister said...

This made me a little teary eyed. :) I'm glad you have such a big support system to look out for you and help you. It makes going through trials so much easier. *hugs*

EmptyNester said...

Betty- you are one amazing woman! And one of the most poetic writers! Beautifully written post---as always!

Linda Myers said...

A memorable post, Betty. Thank you.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

Hi Betty, I love this post. I think of my blogger friends often, but never especially feel the need to reach out in person, but this post made me just want to talk to you. I'm glad you have good friends and sons looking out for you in the dark. Inkspot's idea was lovely. Count on a light in RI from now on.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

forgot to mention, I love the photo! Did you take it? Did you touch it up somehow? It is really beautiful.

annie said...

Hi Betty,
Stopping in to wish you a lovely and happy weekend.
Hugs

Lazarus said...

Betty,

I hate you.

I don't really of course, but I had to say something with shock value to stand out among all of these wonderful comments.

My heart aches for you, not just because HOB screwed himself by leaving, but because you are having such a hard time seeing what wonderful things lie ahead for you. In just one snippet of an afternoon, my wife and I could see how cool and fun and attractive and intelligent you are (which everyone can also discern from reading your blog, of course). Better days, much better Betty days, are on the horizon; hang in there! Hopefully, things are getting better daily. I liked the reader leaving a light on for you in Atlanta. I'm going to have a drink for you tonight in Pennsylvania, I'll be toasting with my wife to the abundance of joy and happiness that is in your future. Join us if you'd like!

Ami said...

Sometimes in the middle of all that's going on with me health-wise, I stop being crabby about it and get tears in my eyes over something lovely that I've read.

This post did that for me today.

And this week at work, the kids and I are making little votive holders. And the one I make will be with you in mind.

Betty's candle.

Thank you.

Madi and Mom said...

Hi Betty ...Was your city in the path of the horrible winds? I hope all is well.
Hugs C

Cynthia said...

Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful...

CiCi said...

If you only knew how much I relate to your post, actually to all you have adjusted to and pain you endured. My husband is gone too and for the past couple months I have trouble concentrating but I know with time and work things will be better, maybe better than better. Hugs from a sister of hope.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I hope those Christmas lights will brighten your Advent season day after day.

spokalulu said...

Here via Hilary's POTW. I was here once before. Before. Your posts are so poignant, so beautiful. I won't be looking at the Christmas lights the same tomorrow, and I will be making a mental note to give the gift of nightlights whenever a friend is going through a traumatic experience.
May God bless you as you navigate these days. You are a bright light, and I think it is because you so lovingly reflect the Brightest Light of them all. ♥

SueAnn said...

I just knew you would get the post of the week honor!!! Good for you!
This was so well written
Hugging you
SueAnn

TexWisGirl said...

oh my word, this was beautiful and very touching! i came over from hilary's to say congrats on your POTW, and now i'm leaving with tears in my eyes...

God bless you as your life changes and rearranges. :)

TexWisGirl said...

oh my word, this was beautiful and very touching! i came over from hilary's to say congrats on your POTW, and now i'm leaving with tears in my eyes...

God bless you as your life changes and rearranges. :)

holdingmoments said...

I came over to say congratulations on a very well deserved POTW.
I think I'll have to get some of those lights myself. :-)

CherylK said...

Such a great present, the night lights! That's one true friend who knew just what you needed even though you didn't.

I have nightlights, too. I like having a glimmer of light if I wake up in the middle of the night.

And last but not least...congratulations on the POTW! Another light from Hilary!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hi Betty, I'm back to say congrats on your POTW from Hilary. This is a fantastic post.
xo jj