I stopped at a traffic junction and saw this very ordinary scene to my right. What isn’t obvious in this hurried (and harried) shot I took is that the canopy overhead only allowed the light through patchily. But you can see the results of the scattered rays of light. Where they pierced the gloom, life sprouted.
Made me think about my life and how because of the canopy of life’s circumstances, God’s light was sometimes patchily shining through. No fault of His, though! Like the sun that is ever present in the sky and shining on that spot of foliage, God’s light was and has been ever present in my life; just that events or personal decisions dimmed that light at times. When I basked and soaked in the warmth, I found growth too, which I’d like to think resulted in my being able to shine His light into others’ lives.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NIV)

In recent times, several dear friends and relatives that we haven’t been in touch with for a while, re-connected with us and sent heart-warming updates of themselves. We’re separated geographically, but not in spirit. The times past when we were able to share lives physically and not just in cyberspace helped cement our friendship. Daniel and Marlene now live in Wellington, New Zealand, but our years of being in each other’s homes on a regular basis forged ties that continue to bind. Kinda reminds me of something one of my favourite authors wrote:

When you’ve been walking in the wind for miles, and you suddenly go into someone’s house, and he says, “Hello, Pooh, you’re just in time for a little smackerel of something,” and you are, then it’s what I call a Friendly Day. [A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh’s Little Book of Wisdom, illustrated by E. H. Shepard (London, UK: Methuen, 1999) p. 12]

We shared many Friendly Days! And so it’s now their turn to share Friendly Days with others. In their own words, “We’re now ‘paying it forward’ (and upward) and have started/joined a home church movement in Wellington, NZ. Extending fellowship, hospitality and being a witness for Christ in our neighbourhood”. Both of them and their three daughters have deep wells of love and compassion for others to draw from. We miss them terribly, but we also know that God wants us to continue to shine on other spots too—the hurting, the homeless, and the helpless.
Like the little green sprouts of undergrowth in the photo, we pray that our little bursts of warmth and hospitality will result in oases of life-giving hospitality across the land. My beloved husband often recalls fondly how his visits to his mentor’s home would end up with him being blessed in his spirit and his tummy. Janice Capp’s cookie jar never ran empty! If you’re wondering if it would be too humongous a task to host groups in your home or to bring warmth to others who are homebound, follow the axiom “think big, start small”. Some gingernut cookies, a warm cup of tea (or coffee), and a listening ear may be all that’s needed to soothe a troubled soul.
Sometimes, it may not even be a physical presence that can be used to light the darkness for another. Sharing your story can also be a powerful way for others to find their way to wholeness and healing. Our niece, Sharon, had this to say about one of the reasons she decided to write her debut book to chronicle her journey in overcoming Clinical Depression, CTSD (Complex Traumatic Stress Disorder), deep relational wounds and the stigma and shame of mental illness:

To demonstrate that even though parent-child abuse and domestic violence does happen, redemption, healing and restoration can happen too. I write to honour the values of love, truth, justice, righteousness, healing, peace, forgiveness and goodness. [Sharon Khoo, Hope in Despair: A memoir of overcoming abuse, trauma and depression. Order here]

Will you allow your little light to shine so that God’s love may sprout in another’s life? And perhaps you’ll kindle a spark that will someday lead to the warmth of a Friendly Day for others.