“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has – or ever will have – something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.” – Fred Rogers
Did any of you brave it out on Friday to see the bustling crowds at stores or the mall? We did. I’m a glutton for punishment I suppose, but I do enjoy the excitement, festive mood and the occasional good deals. To be fair, there was much less this year. Especially the crowds and the good deals, but the festive mood was still there. Regardless, it was a fun date with my sweetie to parade around the town and spot a good deal or two.
We started putting up Christmas decorations even before Thanksgiving, but this past weekend was the final sprint. Trees, lights, candles and greenery now adorn every room in our house and even flow outside. Present boxes, sweets, music and greeting cards begin their annual appearance. And, as some of you know, it was the first candle lighting of Hanukkah last night. As the days grow darker and a bit gloomy, the warm glow of the candles, fireplace and the Christmas lights are healing salves to the soul.
I’m clumsy. I love helping set up the trees, string the lights and set out the decorations. But in the process, I manage to bump things and there is the evitable breakage. I was setting up a small tree next to our dining room and added a small string of LED lights. It was a low-cost variety and had that irritating 60Hz strobing. I decided to solder in a rectifier, which did the trick, but in the process, I knocked over one of those big LED-lit candles we have. It fell to our unforgiving tile floor and the wax broke into bits.
“Oh great,” I said to myself and then heard the expected, “What did you break now?” My poor motor skills are well known to my family so they came into the dining room to see the show. They managed to piece the candle back together. To our surprise, the candle still worked. The glow of the light in the candle warmed up the entire cylinder and to our surprise, created a marvelous new display, illuminating the cracks and casting new shades on the surface. It was beautiful! It looked like a landscape wrapped around the candle, with dramatic shadows to create depth. The result was a natural and unique work of art that now sits on the shelf. The broken candle created something new, giving inspiration and perspective that didn’t exist before.
We are all broken. We all have cracks. We experience hurts, failures, disappointments, physical limitations, mental struggles and other self or externally judged imperfections. As my youngest often reminds me, especially when my obsessive compulsiveness kicks in, “Nobody is perfect.” She is right! The reality is that part of our immeasurable value and enduring purpose is the incredible uniqueness of our seemingly broken bits. Where we are fractured, the light shines through us best. Glow! We are creating something new by embracing who we are, striving yet shining. Our uniqueness gives inspiration and perspective that didn’t exist before. Don’t hold back. Be the best “you” you can be and shine!