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Leave a Little Sparkle Wherever You Go

Sister Doreen’s Reflections

Today as I opened the Splenda package to stir it into my decaf-coffee, this message “leave a little sparkle wherever you go” created such a smile and a challenge!  It made me ask myself ‘do I brighten or light up the space around me? I wondered also, do we as a community help make the world a brighter place?

One of the wonderful things that we sometimes see is children (young and old) wearing shoes that sparkle as they walk! Lights come on, and flash off and on, as they walk and often those wearing them are smiling and jumping to make them light up even more. Perhaps they seem to be very mindful of the fact that they are creating smiles around them also, just by jumping for the joy of lighting up their shoes. I have watched my nieces and nephews in these shoes, and have seen them bouncing along, indeed leaving a sparkle, literally, wherever they go.

Do these outward signs also convey an inner sign? I know that there are times when I do not feel very much like a sparkly person, especially when in some situation or circumstance that presents turmoil and weariness. It takes a great deal of energy to try to be a ray of brightness when we are in a dark place ourselves. It is often expected of us when living with others. In fact, deep down we know that often we need to choose to be on the bright side even when we don’t feel like it, we need the spark of energy that making this choice brings! And there are times when we are in situations or circumstances that others are finding hard, and we know that we need to turn down our tendency to be sparkly or a ray of sunshine and temper our presence with them with a large dose of compassion, a gentle but cheerful compassion of hope and kindness.

I am sure most of us can remember singing “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let is shine, all the time”. While it was a Sunday School Gospel song written by Harry Dixon Loes in the 1920s, it also gained more popularity in the 1950s when it was performed by musician and activist Zilphia Horton and turned into one of the most well-known and beloved Civil Rights Movement protest anthems. I thought about these things when I was stirring the sparkle message into my coffee, simple songs that brought to the forefront just how important a message it carries for us.

Scripture challenges us with the same understanding and words: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5). “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,….” (1 John 1:7).

In a sense this message of leaving a little sparkle wherever you go is an invitation to be a joy-bringer, someone who brings the fruit of the spirit into life – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I have found that the message translation of Galatians 5:22 – 23 has helped to widen my reflections and deepen the meaning of adding a little sparkle …” God brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”

The poet Maya Angelou wrote: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” From experience most of us know that it doesn’t take much to bring some joy and light to someone else. We’ve experienced that truth ourselves from others. Just being there, being a presence, gentle and caring and sensitive can leave someone better than when we found them. We don’t have to be overly jolly and joyful and smiley – I don’t believe that that is what leaving a little sparkle wherever you go really means. But it does challenge us to make a choice as to what kind of “stamp” we are going to leave on life. What we do with our life and how we enhance the lives of others is what really matters. Sometime, when things are going well, the choice to be an authentic sparkly person will come easily. At other times, when we are going through our own ‘long haul’ that choice, and I believe it is our vocation to make that choice to be an authentic sparkly person, will be hard work. The temptation in the difficult times is to not let our light shine – call it Satan or call it what you will, but it is the temptation to give in and give up.

 I will share the whole of the song “This Little Light of Mine” to end this reflection, may it be for you, as it has been for me, a smile and a challenge to a sparkly life.

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine
Oh, this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, all the time, let it shine.

All around the neighbourhood, I’m going to let it shine
All around the neighbourhood, I’m going to let it shine
I’m going to let it shine all around the neighbourhood.

I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, all the time, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine, all the time, let it shine.

Don’t let Satan blow it out! I’m going to let it shine
Don’t let Satan blow it out! I’m going to let it shine
I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, all the time, let it shine.

The picture is from Microsoft Bing pictures titled sparkle