The other day, I was going through some old pictures when I stumbled upon one of my husband and I at a party at the turn of the Millineum. We had taken a trip to Paris to visit my sister who was studying abroad there. So on Dec. 31, 1999, we got all dressed up and went to a Chateau for a costume party to ring in the Millineum. There was a lot of speculation about computers all over the world crashing, planes dropping out of the air, and outbreaks of violence in big cities. But we weren’t worried. We were practically newlyweds, happy and excited to be heading out for this once-in-a-lifetime New Years. I wore a sparkly blue dress, which was covered from top to bottom in sequins. I felt “decorated”, sparkly, and beautiful. I loved that dress, and since that time, have not been able to part with it. (Even though now, the only thing it is “decorating” is the dusty hanger in my closet).

Catching sight of it one time, my daughter, then 4, commented on how sparkly it was. She admired it with big eyes. She said, “Ooooh, Mommy, turn out the light so I can really see how it glows!” I explained that the dress doesn’t sparkle or glow on its own. It does not possess it’s own light. It merely reflects the light. So it has to be near the light to really shine.

We too need to be near our light to really shine. There are times we see people around us in a dark place. And there are times we ourselves are surrounded in darkness. Darkness spreads quickly, and sneaks up on us when we’re unaware. It creeps along silently, attempting to cover everything in its path. Suddenly we find we’ve been taken victim by it. We don’t know when it captured us or how we let it; all we know is a spirit of anger or sorrow is pushing us further and further into it. That’s how darkness works. But the funny thing about it, it runs and hides from the Light. Because it knows the light will overpower it.

We, like my sparkly dress, grow dim when we step too far away from our light source. When in darkness, and operating on our own power, we can let that darkness overcome us, and we become stuck there. But only if we forget to draw close to the Light. If we remain in the Light, we can truly shine. Even through the darkness. Maybe even BEST through the darkness. Because then we might even be able to bring light into a neighbor’s darkness too.

So in my moments of darkness, I remember my dress. And I remember that without drawing closer to the Light, my life is like those sequins in the dark. A lot of potential beauty. But sadly, not only useless, but dull and lifeless. And utterly incapable of fulfilling the purpose for which they were created.