My oldest daughter came home with a simple glow stick bracelet from her teacher for Valentine’s Day, with the accompanying message, “You light up my life!” Tonight she wanted to activate it, but upon doing so, she found that only the tip came to life in a neon blue. She was of course disappointed and began to complain, when I took the little glow stick and said, “Follow me. I want to show you something.”
We walked back to her room and I said, “This little broken glow stick doesn’t look like much when all the lights are on, does it?”
“No,” she sighed.
“Well what if I turned out the lights and shut the door?” I turned out the light, and the little broken glow stick seemed instantly brighter. I shut the door, and in the complete blackness, the little broken glow stick looked like a beautiful beacon.
“Wow,” my daughter admitted, “why is it so different?”
“Because of contrast,” I replied, leaning on my photography knowledge. “The bigger the difference between the light and the dark, the brighter the light appears.”
I went on to make my moral point, “Good is like this tiny, ½ inch bit of light; you may not notice it, or think it makes much difference when there are many other “lights” around, but this broken bit stands out for all to see, when surrounded by darkness.”
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
My oldest was four or five when I dubbed her, “the bloodhound”. It had been one of those days in which I hadn’t eaten or gone to the bathroom since something like 9pm the night before, and here it was, three in the afternoon. I had done the cooking, the cleaning, the singing, the teaching, and the playing, and now it was time to eat something (anything) while the child was playing quietly in her room.
Trying not to tip off my daughter to the sound of the fridge opening (“Mommy, I’m hungry! I know I ate an hour ago, but I want snack. Let me be more specific: I want your snack.”), I slunk into the kitchen (cue the Mission Impossible theme) as stealthily as possibly, staring down the hallway to make sure she didn’t come running. My senses alert, I slowly opened the fridge door, ready to bolt if I heard the pitter-patter of tiny feet. All clear.
I glanced in the fridge, saw a chocolate piece, and snatched it like a frog with a fly, looking all directions to be sure I hadn’t been seen. Then I casually walked over to the kitchen sink where our trash can is, and, humming to throw the child off, gazed outside, unwrapping the chocolate quietly and cautiously. I gazed around once more and when I saw no child in sight, I popped the chocolate in my mouth and threw the wrapper away. I covered it a little too, just to be on the safe side.
Mmmm! Food! My stomach danced for joy, as the chocolate melted, coating my throat and tongue in rich sweetness. I closed my eyes and breathed a happy, content little sigh, fully enjoying the moment when suddenly my mouth went dry and my breath stopped short, for there was my daughter! She looked at me, asked me a question, and when I responded with as empty a mouth as I could manage (it was the size of a pea by now), her keen eyes shot a beam of accusation at me, “What are you eating?”
“Nothing”, I said innocently.
Not satisfied, she began circling me like a dog, drawing closer and sniffing the air. “I smell chocolate! You ate a chocolate!”
“You don’t understand! Just leave me alone!” I cried, running to my room and slamming the door.