Monday, February 28, 2011

Oh! Light bulb!

Last weekend the fish tank light burned out, and since then I’ve been on a mission to locate one that illuminates Sassy and Marmalade the way that the old one used to. We’ve purchased one that makes the water appear blanketed in sunlight (but made the water appear bathed in poo) and another that is supposed to enhance their colors (but only turned the water pink like Barbie’s mansion). Neither, however, brings darkness to light the way that the old one used to.

Sassy and Marmalade are two, very fat, very spoiled goldfish that dance at the front of the tank each morning as I start the bread toasting in the toaster. Sassy is orange and white and the oldest of the two. Marmalade is all orange and when we got her, she was about the size of a quarter. Now she’s almost as big as Sassy and round like a gumball. In all reality, these are Princess’ fish, but I love to see them dance and beg for food each morning. Makes me all happy inside and secretly I dance, too. (It’s cute. I shake my butt, just like they do when move their fins back and forth. If anyone ever videos this and sends it to You Tube, it will go viral, because white girl can dance! Holla!)

Why is it so darn difficult to find the right light bulb? Isn’t a light bulb a light bulb? (By the by, try writing light bulb consecutively three times. After awhile, light bulb doesn’t look like it’s spelled correctly. What’s up with that? Light bulb. Light bulb? Hmmm…odd.) The fish tank looks so bleak without the proper light. And incorrect lighting is no different. The right light makes all the difference.

The same can be said of life. In our darkest hour, a single flame burning brightly cannot reveal the correct path to resolution. Instead, it simply allows us to take our next step. (Or keep us from bumping our head on the nearest surface.) When our surroundings are completely dark, we don’t know if we’re safe, about to fall, or about to run into a wall. (Or for some of us – who shall remain nameless – the walls simply jump out at her for no good reason even when there’s plenty of light. Okay…we’re talking about me. Nurse Betty would’ve called me out for that as soon as she read it, so I had to fess up!) But a single light bulb, or in this metaphor, a single epiphany, can make everything seem crystal clear.

Each day we have the opportunity to learn from our experiences. You thought I was going to say “mistakes” instead of “experiences” didn’t you? Well, I firmly believe that there are no real mistakes, just opportunities to learn and apply that knowledge in the future. Like, when my car mysteriously ends up in front of a donut shop and a bag of happy sprinkled donuts is sitting in the passenger seat next to me screaming in fear of the impending ravaging, I’ve learned that a milk chaser cuts the sugar so much better than a coke. Things like that, you know?

Okay, so maybe I’m not talking just about the proper donut ravaging technique. (Or am I? Muuuuuuaahaaaahhhhahhhh!) We all know that past experiences can shape the way we react to our current surroundings. The right light can make all the difference when faced with darkness, though. In the morning, bright sunlight can seem oppressive to weary, tired eyes. And in the evening, the setting sun turns everything golden and fiery, with shadows appearing where buildings and trees once stood.

But when the sun is straight up in the sky, during that perfect spring day when it appears that the trees have taken a deep breath in and exhaled giant blossoms, the warmth blankets your face and feeds your soul.

That’s the kind of light that shapes you.

That’s the kind of light that gets straight to your heart and points you in the right direction. And suddenly, you know what you need to do.

Or in my case, the light points me to the nearest donut shop. Cue screaming donuts.

Shine on, my friends. Shine on.

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