“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness…” Anne Frank (1929-1945)

When I was in Alberta, several years ago, my friend, Carol, told me of an interesting phenomenon. A satellite had taken a photo of Mother Earth, and where there were no existing lights or any type of technological gridirons that could possibly supply light power, lights were seen all over the earth — little beacons of lights lending radiance and warmth to our planet.  There was no scientific explanation for the source of the light.

I would like to think that the lights are the many good, random acts of kindness that happen each day in our lives.

I have to keep this thought of Anne Frank, foremost in my thoughts: ““It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

It seems today, in our country of America, that we have traded humanity with individualism.  We strive to become. Paul Klee’s quote, “Becoming is superior to being,” was often my impetus to change. Now that I have aged, I wonder, is it really so important to strive for that? I am wondering if that is actually true. It seems, as of late, that “being is superior to becoming.”

I think of how many need someone to listen to them…to be present to them…to give meaning to their existence.

I think of the people in the nursing facilities, where they are put in their final years of life, after being actively engaged with family for many years. Then suddenly, they find themselves there.  The reasons can be many…how much of it is our own deep complacency?  Our own unwillingness to disrupt our own comfort level? Does our materialistic way of being, get in the way of us taking the step beyond the norm?

I think back to my days as an Educator for many years. Was I always willing to go the extra step for the student, even if it meant a hassle with the Administration?  Sometimes I didn’t, and, as I grew as a teacher, I  became more and more “outspoken”—the adjective attributed to me because I could not bear to see and be told what to teach, when I knew it was not the best action, given the situation in the classroom. For example, I was ordered to teach the book, SPEAK, which, in and of itself, is a very traumatic novel about a young girl being raped. Given the lack of counseling available in our middle school at the time, and knowing that one of the girls had been a victim of rape, and it had been videotaped and released to the media and local TV station by the perpetrators (not their most clever move), it seemed there were thousands of novels that could have been read and discussed—why not avoid this, given the volatile situation of the time, since the perpetrators and the girl involved were both present in my class. My mere question brought a payload of grief and I was denied my request. The result: the girl broke down in sobs in the class. The result of this: I was reprimanded for not properly handling the situation, though letters were sent to the parents prior to the reading and students were given the option to beg off of the assignment. But, of course, my initial request was denied. And so another “failure” was added to my list of grievances. These are the types of injustice all the way around —using the students to create an impossible situation in order to stack issues against the teacher—it happens, and happened, and I have to let go of it. That is just one of the ten million stories. So when people say that if you want to get rid of someone, I understand completely. How the power of a position, creates monsters of us and we destroy the lives of those around us.

I think of Administrators, who walk the policy, and forget that the students are NOT clients, but human, growing beings. The legalism in this country has prevented many from being their true selves. People are afraid of standing up for others, for fear they may lose their jobs or positions. They will go so far as not telling the complete truth, to protect themselves and stay in the good graces of what is expected, regardless of the truth.

We see it everyday—especially, with the political games going on now. Racist and bigoted statements, people blaming other people to get ahead. The politicians today seem to create a pool of victims for the rest of us to drown, so we do not have to stop and look inside of us. People are so willing to jump on anyone who is different–the bigoted statements against Muslims and the subsequent physical attacks that have occurred because of the rhetoric used in campaign speeches. The attack on LGBT people, because of their sexual orientation—and because of who they are. Many states are now introducing legislation to nullify the effect of the Supreme Court ruling, honoring the relationship of LGBT people. WHY?

Various groups of people are being offered up as the reason for our domestic issues. Smacks of Nazism to me.

I think of nurses tied to their computers and not present to their patients’ needs because documentation has become the norm over care of the patient. I think of Social Workers, who walk the fine line and do not take the extra step that might make all of the difference to a positive outcome.

I think of the people who are homeless on our streets.  If I stop to speak to them, what will it demand of me? I think of the person with a stroke or illness that leaves them speechless–how much does our own inadequacy of being present prevent us from being compassionate towards them. Instead we avoid them, talk around them like they are not there—their death happens soon enough.

Sometimes, I think we have pushed the YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL chant to the extreme, that our compassion towards one another has pushed us so far from each other, that now we have a country filled with alienated and lonely people. Suicide in this country is at an all time high and not just for the terminally ill, aged or despaired people—but among the young of our country. According to USA TODAY, suicide rate continues to climb since 1991. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/09/suicide-mental-health-prevention-research/15276353/) “In 2014, there were 42,773 deaths by suicide in the United States…”(http://save.org/facts)

Heroin addiction is growing –not reserved for the cities, but now dots the landscape of almost every little town in America.

We are all broken pieces, but our brokenness can enable us to be with others. We can help each other, if we are open and vulnerable and willing to step out of our comfort zone. We should not allow fear to replace compassion in our lives and in our interactions with others.

Deep listening is an art and it takes patience and practice. I think it can only be achieved if one takes time to listen to oneself. One has to take time each day to enter that deep moment of silence and profoundly listen to one’s own being. Self-reflection is imperative to growth.

I leave you and myself with this thought for today: “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” Anne Frank, 1929-1945. Killed in the Nazi Holocaust of World War II.

from the Hubble Telescope

from the Hubble Telescope

35 thoughts on ““Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness…” Anne Frank (1929-1945)

  1. bwcarey says:

    you are so right, thanks for sharing

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  2. […] Source: “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness…” Anne Frank (1929-1945) […]

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  3. Well spoken and insightful reflections on the unfortunate state of our world and its peoples. Why is it that those who truly speak of the TRUTH are least welcome in our society? The illusions and delusions of what is normal and desired in life leaves most lost in a maze of dysfunction. We have much to pray about. Keep being brave in your speech Jane even when the truth is not readily welcomed.

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  4. Clanmother says:

    We live in difficult times. Every random act of kindness is important. Sometimes we do not see the results of our actions, but kindness is remembered. The struggle continues…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And this truly is a marvelous post, Jane. Like all of your posts throughout the years. You know in your heart the right thing to say and do and like many of us have tried to stave off the bullies. It’s an overwhelming task. And so one small step at a time and a small army of people who believe in kindness. Maybe?????

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    • thank you…I have a great fear in me to write as I honestly feel and the things I have experienced…every once in a while I step out of my comfort zone…:)

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      • Be fearless. It looks good on you!

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      • YOU are amazing…I can’t get over how you are reading so many of my blog entries. At first, I thought I was seeing things–and I even contacted WordPress–thinking there was a glitch when they pointed out to me that you were responding to different entries! LOL You make me feel very special…thank you, Clare!

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      • Oh, I take blogging very seriously. If people are kind enough to visit me, then I answer their comments and visit them. I don’t try to get new followers because I worry about being able to spend enough time with the people who come to my blog. I know the people who were in WordPress 101 with me last year and our blogs all grew up together. When new people follow me, I really try to catch up and get to know them as much as I can. It is difficult to do when I’m involved in writing a book, but I’m taking a break right now and trying to use the time to build relationships with Kindred Spirits. Like You, my friend! Oh, I just came upon your art work! Such gentle, lovely pieces of art, Jane!

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      • Yes, I try to do the same–it means a great deal to me when they visit and comment–very uplifting. I began using WordPress in October 14, 2011…and many of those whom I met initially are still with me. They are more verdant followers than I am. Sometimes people commitments take over and my time is limited.Their presence has strengthened me immensely, as does yours! I am happy you enjoy my art pieces –I tend to get saturated with paint when I undertake a painting…and if I could only have a permanent place to paint, I am sure I would do more of it. I am working on creating that space. Still, I am just in unbelievable amazement at how much time and attention you have given my writing, Clare. Thank you! What a generous spirit you have!

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      • It has been my pleasure. I’ve been home waiting for a technician to fix the ice maker on my new refrigerator.(Remind me to do a post on today’s products) So, I’ve been reading a lot today.It’s been wonderful to be able to spend time getting to know you.

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      • I have visited your blog…and am learning about you, too! I feel very blessed for this opportunity to get to know you!

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  6. Well spoken and insightful thoughts about the dire state of our existence and its impact on everyone everywhere. So many operate and exist under the illusions and delusions of what is normal and desired and are so lost in the maze of dysfunction in our world. Continue to be brave Jane and to speak out.

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  7. Panchali says:

    A reflective and insightful post!! I am a big believer of karma…so, this was a very good read.

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    • thank you for your visit and comment, Panchali! I do not understand the concept of “karma” well…maybe you have written about it on your site. I think many people use it incorrectly–from what I have read. I do not see it as “punishment” or “revenge”–but more like a result of our choices? I will return to visit your blog again! Thank you!

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  8. Eliza Waters says:

    Such a deep and heartfelt post, Jane. Your points are so valid. May the masses awaken and soon!
    I love that Hubble photo – so amazingly ethereal!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. reocochran says:

    Oh, how lovely that the lights are possibly random acts of kindness glowing in the night, giving all those who are suffering, impoverished and lonely something to hang on to, a beam of light in little dots upon the Earth. ❤

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  10. oldpoet56 says:

    Reblogged this on Truth Troubles: Why people hate the truths' of the real world and commented:
    Reblogging this because I believe it is a well written article containing good information, I hope that you get something from the material.

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  11. bahelberg1 says:

    Anne Frank — very wise at a young age through having the most horrible of experiences in WWII. So true that the world is shrinking in terms of kindness and lighting candles for one another. What’s wrong? Everywhere, people are pitting themselves against one another. Astonishing how wide-spread this has gotten in the United States alone!

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