At online Meeting for Worship last night a Friend ministered about candles. I didn’t catch who she was quoting but it was someone’s reminiscence of how, as a small child, her parents explained to her about the votive candles she saw in church. How each one is a prayer. The child asked what would happen when the candle she’d lit went out, would that be the end of the prayer? No, said her parents, because other people were always coming along to light their candles and all the prayers join up together and support each other.
I really needed to hear this right then. If I’m going to have a wobble then early evening is usually it but this reminder really helped, that it doesn’t matter if we get tired, that the community can hold the faltering individual . I remembered the many occasions I’ve looked around the room in Meeting for Worship (when we could still meet face to face) and thought, I’ve really lost the plot. But it didn’t matter because you could see that other Friends hadn’t and they were holding the space. Then the other times when I’ve been one of the steady ones for somebody else.
So it’s OK to not be strong. We are enough. Which took me back to Coronavirus and Climate Grief (the cause of most of my recent wobbles) and on to the Covid-19 maths: how many thousands one person can potentially infect. And I thought about that one prayer – that one candle metaphorical or otherwise. Could that grow exponentially in the same way? So it doesn’t matter if I burn out or die, the people of goodwill continue and grow.