I saw lights today

I saw lights today. On the other side, or is that the other side? Some months back I was cruising around in my car looking at creatively done lights to celebrate one of the most important events in the place I was at. A celebration that lasts nearly a week was beginning and the city was decked up with lights to celebrate the season. Indeed, one special light was so bright that it had to be turned off since it was interfering with flights over the city. I cruised again today, through the countryside to see the glorious display of lights, that will last a week, for another celebration. These lights speak volumes about the places where they happen. Even as we are unable to get fully past COVID-19 it is through these lights that we speak of what makes things worthwhile. Some years ago I remember pushing through the crowds on Park Street as the silver bells were lit up across the street. Even earlier in my life at One Time Square I remember seeing the light drop as we finished another year in our lives. Tonight, on a remarkably quiet night, as the cold slowly gets into your bones the lights seemed to warm up the senses a bit to see hundreds of cars, with eager people in them, drive slowly through the park and take in the collective joy of seeing a child’s eager face sticking out through the moonroof on this chilly night awed by the lights. Just like the youngsters walked around Salt Lake hopping from one point to another, holding hands, and using the excuse of “Pandal hopping” to steal a few moments together, some teenagers will have a glass of wine or eggnog tomorrow, these are the times when the rules become pliable and latitude is offered in the spirit of the season. And the season is vital for our lives. These are the moments of inflexion that we look forward to. The next few days will allow for the much-needed resetting of the busy ness of life with an opportunity to sit back and consider what is important. And use the time to catch up with the self, surrounded by the lights of the season and consider where one would be going next. To make the plans, even if they never come true. To imagine what might happen if indeed even some of the plans actualize. To dream of walking along the boulevards of this World with a bondhu on the side and re-living or newly living a life that one builds and nurtures. And in this life one always hopes for the lights – the candle in the living room offering a special ambience, the oil lamp next to the altar, the flickering menorah on the windowsill that I see driving down a familiar street, the overdone LEDs and lit up reindeer on the front yard. In these lights I find life. Because each of these lamps represents a passion for life expressed in the mundane. As the lit up tree flickers in the wee hours of the night, when I walk into the kitchen for a drink of water it beckons and promises that the light will always be there, just like the year before, it will be there the next year. These lights promise stability because these lights are special and not the utilitarian lights for the familiar dark moments of our lives. But these are lights of celebration, these are luminous expression of what many of us say along with Debbie Boone: “You light up my life/You give me hope to carry on.” We all need these moments of light.

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