Updated: Sep 13, 2018
by Karen Rettich
I was recently listening to a pod cast and the interviewee was telling the interviewer of her morning ritual. I am someone who has a morning ritual too, or at least I try. One of the things I do is sit quietly and write out my prayers. It is helpful for me to put them in writing. It is helpful for me to put just about everything in writing.
Sometimes I use a devotional to get a kick start or may listen, as I was this morning, to a pod cast. The woman shared how she lets the Bible just “fall open” each morning and then picks a verse on a page and that is her inspiration for the morning. I decided that sounded very random. Shouldn’t you have something to pray for and then find the scripture to help? Does prayer work if you just randomly throw a verse out there? I sat with that for a few days. Then came the anniversary of my mother’s death. It falls, almost every year, over Labor Day weekend and the day after my wedding anniversary.
Even though she has been gone for 13 years now, each year, September 3rd feels like a lead-filled, foggy day. I try each year to stay busy and not give it much thought. I am sure my mother wouldn’t want me to sit around in mourning all day when there are rugs to be vacuumed and kids to be fed but there it is. Each year the gut-wrenching reminder of my loss.
This year, however, I was reminded as I sat in my pretty blue chair, ready to write a morning prayer, of that woman who just lets the Bible fall open. I decided, why not? The worst that can happen is a verse telling me to stop feeling sorry for myself. I am pretty sure there is one of those in there somewhere. I held my heavy study Bible up off my lap and let it fall open. I closed my eyes and landed my finger on the page. I opened my eyes and my finger was on Luke 11:33. “The Lamp of the Body” is the title in my Bible. In my mom’s Bible it is called “the parable of the lighted candle”.
“No one lights a candle and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy your whole body is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light when a lamp shines its light on you.” NIV Study Bible
Eureka! Maybe there is something to being random! My mother was my lamp. She was everyone’s lamp. Her more than 30 years of living with Multiple Sclerosis didn’t put her inner light out. She always had a smile. She loved to laugh. I spoke at her memorial service and before I even knew this verse, I had described her as our lighthouse, standing on a rocky shore always shining her light for us to keep us safe and happy. Always guiding us. I said that her light never went out.
As I read this verse it reminded me not of what I had lost but what I had gained. What my life has been because of my wonderful mother. It reminded me that we can choose to be that light for those around us or we can choose to stick it under a bowl and sulk in the darkness. My mother never sulked. She never hid her true self. Her eyes were always the brightest blue, sparkling with joy when she saw me or my sister or my father. Or anyone she loved for that matter.
I have a few photos of her with those eyes and her face lit up with a smile. They are a precious reminder of what she shared with us. We may not all have a challenge like a chronic illness. Some days we feel like a complete mess because of all that is demanded of us and it is overwhelming. Some days the kids are in trouble or giving you a hassle. Maybe you yell. Maybe, as I did recently, you completely lose your cool in front of lots of people because one child attempts to drown the other because “she was touching me!” And your light goes out for a few seconds. Not to worry. My mom taught me your light is always there, waiting to be relit.
Karen is a wife, mother, school nurse by day and closet writer by night. She writes to inspire and uplift and hopes to help people find their own path to spirituality through writing and speaking. Karen blogs at: https://www.themustardseedblog.com/