Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Lighting Candles

1 Comment

Anyone can light a candle,
But not the way that you do.

Jon Anderson & Vangelis

Columbus 1

For the past couple of weeks, my husband Henry has put in a lot of time networking, in connection with a coalition of other churches and denominations, to raise funds, supplies and “boots on the ground” to help the people of Columbus, New Mexico recover from a microburst (a small tornado) which caused significant damage to 71 homes in this tiny border town. His work is helping to light a candle or two in the darkness of despair that many people in this town are feeling. With an unemployment rate of 53% and many of the residents undocumented, standard types of assistance, such as loans (which cannot be repaid if one is unemployed) and offers that come with paperwork-strings attached (which no undocumented person would dare to fill out), are of no value for these people.

Before embarking upon his ordained ministry, Henry spent many years working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where he learned how to work within complex, bureaucratic systems and be persistent until he was able to find creative, and often innovative, solutions. This makes him uniquely qualified to help out in this endeavor, wearing both his clergy shirt and his bureaucratic hat.

I could light this candle, but it would not have the same effect. I do not have these skills, this experience, or this vast reservoir of patience and perseverance. My talents lie more in supporting Henry, and others like him who are doing this work, with my spiritual guidance, prayers, encouragement and support. I can articulate what is going on in places like this blog, and edit Henry’s letters to help him get his message out more clearly.

Every one of us has a unique blend of learned skills, innate talents and practical experience. Every one of us knows how to light a candle—but there are millions of candles that need to be lit, and there are candles that each of us are uniquely qualified to light.

What are your candles?

Click here to learn more about Columbus and the needs there.


Author: Shirin McArthur

I'm a spiritual guide, retreat leader, writer and editor.

One thought on “Lighting Candles

  1. Thoughts and prayers going out to those not only affected, but those like your husband who are candles in the darkness. You are right – we are each a candle and must let our light shine in the ways that we can. I have worked within the system also to help those who have little to no voice, in a very different way, but still the same. Wish there were more I could do than send positive energy. But, as you said, we can all only do what we can do.


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