“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
In the 2020 year of dark moments writing about bright spots seems like quite the challenge. My family's year was filled with my wife's dementia surrounded by pandemic concerns. We have moved her through three facilities for increasing care needs. The last move went smoothly, and she has adapted well to the better care. A bright spot.
Staying at home more, I had time to work in the vegetable garden. I like outdoor work and the garden was great. A bright spot. Then there was my yearly cancer follow up and the smile on the doctor's face when he said, "you're clean, no cancer." Always a big bright spot. Oh, after 30 years living in Western NY, I was happy for my old friends and neighbors that the Bills made the play-offs. Maybe a little bright spot. Wow, I thought that I was doing really well on bright spots. Then we received the phone call that my wife had tested positive for the Corona virus. We could have no window visits, no phone calls. Dim the bright spots. The shadows of 2020 had followed us into 2021. I stopped bright spotting, but I now believe bright spots were looking for me.
Later I was glancing at Christmas cards. We had received many messages from old friends from WNY. My 92-year-old friend Glenn started his card: "This is a faith, hope, and love card for you." Kind words of concern for my wife. His wife, our church organist, also suffered with dementia. These were (are) church friends. They are the best. Sending bright spots, they didn't know they were giving me. Much like the phone call from Grace's phone ministry to check on the wellness of me and my family and pastors calling to pray with me for my wife. bright spots to be sure.
I've read that we under-estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear or the smallest act of caring. All of which can turn a life around. A simple act of kindness can change someone's dark moment into a bright spot. You never know how much your kindness matters. Throw a pebble in the water, you never know where the ripples travel or how far.
I think that kindness, like the virus, is contagious. Consider our Christmas Eve service. From the brightness of one altar candle, passed on, over and over until hundreds of bright spots light the sanctuary. We can be lights for each other and through each other we can find our way.
A parable: And I said to the one who stood at the gate of the 2021 year, "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the Unknown,” and he replied, "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be your bright spot and you shall find your way."
We are the hands of God on Earth. Be someone’s bright spot. Thanks be to God.
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.