I have a confession to make, and I finally want to come clean. I have an addiction to candles. Candles of all shapes and sizes, from sweet fragrant floral to deep rich pine.
I don’t simply admire the look of candles gently placed on the wooden island in the kitchen, allowing a calm to take over, it’s more than the look. During my daily morning ritual of lighting a candle, something happens deep within me. As I strike the match to light the candle, smelling the sulfuric air, I gaze and admire the flame begin to dance around.
Lighting the candle has become a meditative practice allowing my day to begin.
The candle, in some sense, is a simple representation of hope and peace, memories lost, moments to explore, or maybe it’s just me finding innocent joy in something as basic as wax in a glass jar.
Life is not simple. Life at times is difficult as we all face challenges that are relative to each of our personal lives. And now, life with our new friend COVID-19, life did not get any easier. We all face new challenges, and some we could never have dreamed of tackling.
I am confident that “there is a light,” but as October is upon us, I can’t help but wonder what the school year ahead will look like for my eldest daughter, who is a senior in high school. For most students, and seniors especially, the inner turmoil rumbling around inside is daunting. As a parent, I am trying my best each day to squash the unknown thoughts, anxiety, and look to find security in my catch-phrases these days, with “It is what it is,” and “It will all work out.” But sometimes, I have a hard time embracing my own words, even as I envision myself in my old middle school cheerleader uniform waving pom-poms in the air.
Do I say these words to make myself feel better? To ignore my potential fears? To reassure those around me?
Each September, even as a young girl, I embraced the month as a new beginning. A fresh start, filled with hope. As a child, I craved the routine of September. Discarding the old markers that dried up, weeding through torn folders, and throwing broken pencils in the trash, led to picking out new school supplies. And my all-time favorite was picking out the new Trapper Keeper for the year! I’ll tell you another little secret…I even enjoyed making homemade book covers out of brown paper bags from the grocery store.
Time moves forward, and then as an adult, I find the same feelings of new beginnings and renewal filling me up. But this fall feels a bit different yet extraordinary. As a community, some parts of life are still different. Many people are still not hugging anyone outside of their family members (and that’s hard for a hugger), and we are still socially distancing and wearing masks (although this is old news by now). This way of adapting and learning how resilient we can be is what is extraordinary in my mind.
The extraordinary time we are living in, and our response to the change is similar to the flame of the candle placed on the kitchen counter. Will our flame stand strong or start to die out from negativity? Or will our flame remain at bay waiting for the light to shine again, or choose to remain bright and fierce flickering along the way?
Well, I know that I’m choosing for my inner flame to be lit daily, in the morning hours of the sun rising, just as I too light the candle every morning, while listening to the tea kettle whistle a start to the new day ahead, all while repeating the words, “It is what it is,” and with time, “It will all work out.”