When I think of candles, I think about light, romantic dinners, birthdays and anniversaries. Candles always seem to be part of these occasions. I also think about weddings and baptisms – all the feel good and happy occasions most of us get to celebrate during the course of our lives. Then there are the candles that are lit in memory of loved ones.Tomorrow happens to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It’s a day when bereaved parents all around the world light a candle at 7pm and say a prayer in honour of the children they lost. Candles are also lit in support of a cause such as breast cancer awareness or prevention of violence against woman and children. Although the use of candles in these circumstances, are as a result of sadder events that occur in our lives, the role they play in this ritual is considered a good or kind gesture. So candles in this regard, are still seen in a favourable light.
But what about candles that although their intention was good, lead to some of the saddest circumstances known to man. I always hear on the radio or the news about how a family or a small child burnt to death when a candle was left unattended during the night. This is especially rife in the poorer and less fortunate communities of our country. The people who already suffered such hardship and would do anything for things to get a little better, not worse. But the reality is that it does get worse. The very thing that was their only source of light, is the same thing that brings tragedy and so much pain.
In the poor communities’ candles are a staple. Electricity is expensive and often the areas in which they stay, do not have access to clean water or electricity to begin with. So candles are used as a form of lighting in their dwellings and metaphorically a beacon of hope for a better life. But I doubt very much that when these candles were bought, if any of these families ever thought that this candle that was meant to provide light in their homes would bring so much darkness to their lives. Never did these families ever think that their “beacon of hope” would leave them heartbroken and forever changed.
Candles remind me of people. There are those that are good and shine bright and make the world a better place. And then there are those, the false ones. The ones who pretend to care about you, but in the end they are the ones who leave you broken and often they are part of the darkest times in our lives.
But the families that have endured the pain of the death of a loved one as a result of a candle, for the most part, do not stop buying candles because of what has happened. Candles, although going forward will always be a reminder of their loss, still remains part of their lives and still continue to provide for their needs. The same can be said about people. You can’t cut people completely out of your life because you don’t know what kind of candle they are. You cannot go through life trying to protect yourself from those who will show their true colours eventually and cause you so much pain. Often the most heart wrenching betrayal is caused by someone you love. Someone you trusted. Someone who started out as a light in your life. But as the relationship progressed, we let our guards down and didn’t see the subtle signs of their light turning into darkness. And that’s when it hits us the hardest. When we didn’t see it coming.
Ironically, those people still play an important role in your life. They teach you to be more careful with who you trust. They teach you to always look out for the signs and if they are there, blow their light out before it brings you darkness. They teach you to value the true light givers in your life. The ones who love and care about you with no ulterior motives. The people who are staples in our lives.
“Even the people who betray you are part of God’s plan for your life. Jesus couldn’t make it to the cross without Judas”. Author Unknown