By Annemarie Adsen
It is easy for me to become overwhelmed in light of the tremendous pain and suffering all around us. I tend to think of myself as small, weak, ineffective and powerless. I am capable of doing nothing, so why even try? This is a false narrative. I have been working to change that story in my head.
I spoke with Friend, Jim Schacht previous to writing the following. At the start of the Chanukah season, he retold the tale at Meeting for Worship. There was only enough oil to light the lamps for one night. Yet miraculously, the lamps continued to shine for eight nights. He made a comparison between the Chanukah light and our Light within. I paraphrase his words, “If somehow there was enough oil for eight nights, then maybe somehow our little Lights together are enough to make the needed changes in the world.” His words struck me as deeply true.
The only thing that I would change in his beautiful analogy, is in reference to the size of our Light. Quakers believe that we each have a “measure” of Light. A “measure” is anything but definitive of size. To my knowledge, no one has ever seen the Light within. Why then, do we assume that we have only a smidgen, a pinch, or at the very most, a mere dab of Light?
This line of thinking originates from a scarcity model. Since there are so many of us here on Earth, clearly we each must have an infinitesimally small speck of Light. This makes logical sense. The more people seated at a table waiting to take part in a pie, the smaller the piece received.
What we seem unable to comprehend, is that God defies our logic. God is the polar opposite of scarcity. God is endless, boundless and ever abundant. It doesn’t matter how many of God’s kids are currently at the table. Nor does it matter how many more kids arrive hungry. God will always be there to lovingly welcome more. There will always be yet more Light.
Perhaps then, our Lights are larger than we think. The biggest measuring implement in my kitchen is a two quart measuring cup. Eight cups is quite large, if you’re making bread. Maybe even this vessel is much too small a container. Our Light could be bigger than the whole kitchen.
It’s possible that there is no construction worker, nor architect equipped with an adequate tool for taking this cosmic measurement. There may be no mathematician intelligent enough to make a theoretical equation that demonstrates the size of our Light. Our Lights may actually be immeasurable and infinite, just like The One who bestowed them within us.
I am beginning to think that that isn’t far from the truth. God had some hand in creating us, therefore, we couldn’t possibly be lacking. Of course, we have enough Light! Think of what each of us would attempt and accomplish, if we actually believed that!