as long as the candle burns
Self Acceptance and Self Care

As Long As The Candle Burns

As winter (as we know it in South India!) begins to set in, and the days start to get shorter, darkness comes sooner. By 6 pm, it’s almost completely dark. I’ve been reflecting on the word ‘light’ through the year, and the fading of the light made me think of something I had read from Rabbi Salanter a while back: As long as the candle burns, there is time to make repairs.

As Long As The Candle Burns

December is often a month of guilt for some of us. We realize that the end of the year is at hand, and we haven’t accomplished all we set out to do at the start of the year. Sometimes despair sets in.

We start to ask ourselves: Will I ever accomplish my goals? Will I ever be able to make the changes I want to in my life? Is there any point in trying again next year?

That’s when we need to remind ourselves that as long as there’s life, there’s hope. As long as the candle burns, we can make change, we can work on ourselves.

The Light is always there. It’s for us to seek it. For us to allow it into our lives. And finally to reflect it.

As long as we reflect light

Robert Fulghum, the author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, narrates this incident in his book It Was On Fire When I Lay Down on It.

Dr. Papaderos is a Greek philosopher and teacher who gave a lecture that Robert Fulghum attended. Robert asks, “Dr. Papaderos, what is the meaning of life?”

Fulghum relates: “The usual laughter followed, and people stirred to go.

Papaderos held up his hand and stilled the room and looked at me for a long time, asking with his eyes if I was serious and seeing from my eyes that I was.

‘I will answer your question.’

Taking his wallet out of his hip pocket, he fished into a leather billfold and brought out a very small round mirror, about the size of a quarter.

And what he said went like this:

‘When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place.

‘I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept only the largest piece. This one. And by scratching it on a stone I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine — in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find.

‘I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child’s game but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of light. But light — truth, understanding, knowledge — is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it.

‘I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of this world — into the black places in the hearts of men — and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.’

And then he took his small mirror and, holding it carefully, caught the bright rays of daylight streaming through the window and reflected them onto my face and onto my hands folded on the desk.”

A reminder

Through my post today, I want to urge you to feel no guilt. Rather seek the Light. Let it shine in the dark places within you. Own your weaknesses, but know that they are a means of growth. Let the Light show you where you need to heal, where you need to truly grow. Then reflect it out into the world!

Today I’m also happy to have a guest post on the lovely Natasha Sinha’s blog as she celebrates her blog’s 3rd anniversary. I’m continuing to reflect on Light in the post. Please head there to read my post and the posts that follow as part of this celebration.


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An inspirational writer, a creativity and writing trainer/coach, I write about life, gratitude, healing, wellness, relationships at Everyday Gyaan. I offer training/coaching to anyone looking to explore their creativity and heal through writing via The Frangipani Creative, located in Secunderabad, India. You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for my weekly newsletter, Bytes of Gyaan, on Substack.

4 Comments on “As Long As The Candle Burns

  1. Just what I needed to hear. Thank you Cory.

    The year end is always riddled with multiple chores to accomplish and especially this time. But I keep reminding myself, to bloom where I am planted, and to keep the light within me glowing.

    Someone sent me this inspiring quote the other day. I’m holding it close to my heart.
    “Hold your pain, your fears, your insecurities so lightly…as you would hold a soft petal or flower.”
    “Loosen the grip.”

    Thank you so very much for gracing my blog. 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing this story and so many times happens to me losing hope on the missing opportunities. The mirror is such a powerful analogy about life and enjoyed reading this tale, Corinne.

  3. I like this a lot, Corinne. I cannot say that I feel any special “guilt,” but often think back and look at what was NOT accomplished, rather than focusing on what was and what will be. This is a good reminder as I try to stop doing that – to flip that upside down and focus on trying to reflect light and demonstrate the optimism of limitless possibilities.

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