Saturday, November 30, 2013


Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
~Annie Lamott

And so it is with us! Good people just stand there shining. People that need saving will find their way to us. 

Those with that need, without a doubt, will find their way to that shining light ~ which is you.

If, and only if, you have the light turned on!

 I remember quite clearly in high school my English teacher asking the class to write an essay on John Milton's famous quotation.

"They also serve who only stand and wait."
At that time I had no idea what to write or what it meant.  But today it is my mantra.  To me, I call it the gift of presence.  If you are open,   willing,  available, and present, and perhaps more importantly, if you are innately compassionate, loving, and caring, you will be of great help to those needing it the most.  You will be their lighthouse.

I have spent time sitting with military families who are in total and complete shock in the Burn Unit, with a critically injured son clinging to life. I just sat there with my light shining.  Soon a conversation was started and ultimately an outpouring of pent up emotions, tears, and fears. If I had not been there, and if I had not been 'open' to what might or could happen, it would have been a waste of time.  But my light was on. And they saw it!

I sat in a dark room with a grieving widow.  There was only a nightlight on in the room, as I entered with my little blind therapy dog, Gracie.  Gracie carried the light, as she placed her front paws on the lady's lap and this widow buried her face into Gracie's fur and sobbed.  No words were ever spoken, nor were they needed.

Some might call it being in the right place at the right time.  But I look at it a bit differently.  Either you have that 'light' or you don't.  Either you are open to whatever or whoever might be needing that light or you aren't.  I am not saying you are born with this tendency, but I am saying that you have to have a deep  awareness and compassion for others who walk this earth.  The pathway isn't always easy, clean, neat and tidy.  It is often quite the opposite.  But to be that light for another just might make their life a little brighter, as well as your own. 

Maybe this is the missing link in relationships, in life.  To be present, to be a shining light for others setting yourself aside. Perhaps many are too self absorbed, or busy, to take notice of the pain that others are experiencing.  

I make friends with wounded warriors with PTSD/TBI in person or on facebook.  I guarantee you that they often share  more with me than they do with their therapists or families.  I have close and loving relationships with women in my own life and on facebook who have experienced horrific physical assaults and sexual trauma.  How can they see my light you might ask.  They see it in my words, in my heart, with 100% of my attention on them. They feel it in their souls that I am as comfortable as a warm cozy flannel bathrobe.  But most of all they sense trust and a true caring and understanding.  They know without a doubt that I can be trusted with whatever they tell me.  With me and my light, they are allowed the gift of being able to open up.  And it is in that opening up that healing can ignite and life just might begin again.

Part of this experience requires listening.  Just being quiet and listening.  Listening with your heart and understanding their pain at that moment.  Here is where John Milton comes in! "They also serve who only stand and wait." The gift of presence!

Think about who was there when you needed someone the most.  Was it a friend or perhaps even a complete stranger.  Nothing is a coincidence, I believe. We meet those people we are supposed to meet.  We are set in circumstances and situations where we are meant to be.  It is up to us to know when to turn the light on.  It is perhaps best to never turn that light off.

Saying this from experience...there is nothing quite so rewarding that one will ever do on this earth than to be present and to have our light shining and to hold a hand or hold someone tightly so that they don't fly off of this planet, consumed by the pain and grief they are experiencing.

As I am writing this, I hear strange noises coming from my bedroom closet. It seems my little blind Gracie found her way upstairs (which is seldom an occurrence) and got lost in the dark of my closet.  She couldn't find her way out.  My light was turned on as I went to her rescue.  She snuggled and nuzzled me in gratitude.  It is no different with anyone in peril. 

Today I invite you to experience the joy of just standing and having your light shining!  Watch the difference it will make in a single life, and if you are truly blessed there just might be a ripple effect you will never be aware of.

To those of you who have been my lighthouse during a storm...I love you and I am grateful you have been or are in my life.


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