Lighting Candles in the Vastness of the Dark

photoIt’s easy in this big, busy world to feel sometimes that one is alone in the magnitude of space, a tiny voice calling out and not knowing if there’s anyone who will answer. When times are grim, that is quite simply the pervasive sense. When my youngest nephew was very small and spending his first overnight at his grandparents’, my mother tiptoed down the darkened hall before turning in for sleep and heard his little voice coming out of the doorway with the plaintive little inquiry: “Is there anybody here who knows me?”

Like him, I have always eventually been answered in my timid forays into the fearful or unknown with rescuers coming to my aid, whether in a literal sense or in the sometimes equally powerful act of offering emotional and companionable solidarity. I’m here for you; I hear you. It doesn’t always have to be more than that, though I can’t imagine there are many who would find themselves able to be surfeited when it comes to genuine kindness and support; sometimes just knowing that there is somebody else somewhere in this overwhelming life who cares what happens to us is grace enough.

Entering the seemingly surreal world of the blogosphere is certainly sufficient intimidation and unfamiliarity for most of us, and a place where we well might feel we’re talking into empty nothingness. The discovery that there are not only fellow wanderers in the place, indeed, but kindred spirits–well, that is more than just a comfort. It’s a relief and a joy and the sighting of rescue breaking through the impenetrable dark with, however tiny, a candle flame. Amazing how that infinitesimal light pierces the gloom and begins to widen. How it begins to be passed from one to the other until a seeming infinity of tiny flames has suddenly coalesced into blazing daylight!

That is the kind of friendship that shifts from virtual to virtuous in a rather quick succession of conversations and shared thoughts and dreams, where we go swiftly from meeting-in-passing to knowing that it matters that each little flame be tended thoughtfully. True community, it turns out, can be cultivated in dimensions that know no boundaries of physical space. It grows in sharing commonalities and respecting and treasuring the uniqueness and differences of opinion and belief and history that give so much deeper meaning to what we do hold in common.

So I pay grateful tribute to those who have answered my voice in the darkness, who have shone light upon my blogging life and more importantly, shed light in every direction by the mere warmth and passion of their spirits through their own voices in blogging. There should be a much more beautiful and euphonious name for this dimension of community than Blog, Blogger, Blogged, Blogging–all of them sound, if not rude, then at the least terribly plebeian. But then, perhaps the true beauty of the construct is its very ability to carry our unvarnished, unembellished humanity if not on golden wings then on plainly mortal feet, all of us walking along, however trepidatiously, speaking softly to others we only trust are there, carrying our little candles ahead of us with quavering hope.

Lately I have been reminded of this sharing of light and warmth yet again by the gifts of three further Versatile Blogger Award recognitions by that Beautiful Spirit, Alpha, at Aspire.Motivate.Succeed., the warm and wonderful master of his well-tended garden, Bishop, at Bishop 9396’s Blog, and the Bardess, DM Denton, who shows magnificent visual and verbal ambidexterity. From three people who demonstrate great versatility indeed I take it as a high compliment.

And I have now been granted the Candle Lighter Award by dear ‘Nessa at Stronghold. She is a bright light indeed for such a young torch-bearer, bringing her insights and opening discussions on many a topic that could fall into the dark but for the repeated loving applications of the light of inquiry and passion that she offers in her forum. All are free to ponder there the complexities of life, love and the human psyche that cross all boundaries of age and experience. Precisely the kind of place that welcomes shared illumination just as I’ve been describing here.

Candle Lighter Award logoThe Candle Lighter Award has been variously described in terms of its requirements, so I thought I’d see if I could trace it back, and behold, this award’s creator actually maintains an open link so that we can bask in her generous and thoughtful gift. So raise your lamps high with me, won’t you, and we’ll thank her for this kind and inspiring offering. Thank you, then, both to Kate, the nurturing mother of this Award, at Believe Anyway, and to ‘Nessa, who believes strongly enough to shine her own light in the darkness.

Kate is especially generous and ingenious, I think, in opting to simply let the award she conceived stand on its own, requiring no response or action other than that one should, appropriately, shine light upon its meaning as a representation of positivity and hope and illumination in and of itself and the thoughtful sharing of it ought to recognize those whom the giver sees as showing those qualities in blog work. To further those beliefs and ideals, I will of course share the names of a small few bloggers who represent the vigor of meaningful optimism, teaching and leading and sharing the light through their munificent and loving work. And as ‘Nessa has reminded me, many of the brightest lights are those that persist to shine in the darkest places.photo

Thus I gladly pass the torch to my friends at PsycheVida, The Invisible Shadow, Aspire.Motivate.Succeed., The Human Picture, G (of G Caffe), and Year-Struck, who all know the light well, if partially by virtue of having known or passed through various dark places, and choose to shine their better selves abroad like rays of sunlight.

I have handed the Versatile Blogger Award along (as well as a few others with similar requirements) enough times that I fear I shall put your lights out, all of you, if I should share another laundry-list of factoids about my shining self, and know that you’ll find more than enough of my self-revelatory chatter just by wandering around my blog any day of the week. But I hope that you will also attend to the following fellow off-road-thinkers who certainly deserve a badge of Versatility for their wide-ranging skills and interests, again without requiring anything of them in return other than that they should rejoice in being in company that deeply appreciates the surprising and wonderful collection of wits that each of them represents.VBA logo

To Marie, tending home, garden, and a next-gen toddler in her Little Corner of Rhode Island; to Ellen, who writes and paints and draws and sets the cultural coordinates of her region at Nine Lives Studio; to Bella of winsomebella, a magical land where passionate soul-searching merges with poetry and photography, travel and storytelling; to John, cooking up history and food and familial love in the Bartolini Kitchens; and to Nia, who intertwines photography with food, the tails of cats with tales of travel, and wonderful daily expressions of local culture to charm and amaze us.

Some of you, I know, have been laureates of these specific and many other blogging awards, and deservedly so, so I neither demand of you that you accept (though it’s pretty much an impossibility to make me un-like you once I’ve decided I like you, as far as that goes!) nor that you ‘keep passing the dessert around the table’. Your blogs and excellence speak for themselves, and if you wish to share the joy further then I am delighted to have put it in your hands for the sharing. Because that is the whole beauty of this place we call the blogging community. There’s dessert and light and warmth enough here for everyone.photo

41 thoughts on “Lighting Candles in the Vastness of the Dark

  1. Wonderful post honey, love your choices. Man you work fast, i am still working on my red shoes!! I also dislike the word BLOG, who ever thought that one up was being unkind! so i love your pages darling girl.. rock on!. c

    • My dearest, I have no Daisy, Mama, Hairy, Mary’s Cat, Houdini, et al., to keep me from sitting down to write. But I’d sure get a kick out of spending some quality time with them all. More than that, with the amazing woman who *does* let them take up so much of her heart and time and *still* manages to be an astonishing writer, cook, gardener, teacher, friend and so much more. Thanks for the constant tender loving care you give us all!

  2. I love, love, love this post, sweet Kathryn. Your compassion and empathy shine through every word you write. And don’t even get me started on the celebration you lavish on your fellow bloggers. The world is a brighter place by virtue of the candle that is you. Much love to you.

    • Darling, you have done incredible amounts to make it all possible! I can’t thank you enough for the kindness you’ve shown me, the inspiration you’ve brought to light, the encouragement you’ve been.
      Love and hugs galore right back at you, my dear!

  3. You are never alone, dear Kathryn! I hear you, and love your beautiful voice as each of your post arrives in my mailbox!
    xoxo

    • My dear XB! I thank you for keeping me constant company here, too!

      And thank you for the delightful lunch and the great pleasure of exquisite music. I was absolutely transported. The Rach is delicious as ever; ‘La Valse’ is such a stupendous ‘pictorial’ piece that I’m still feeling full of movies! A glorious treat. 🙂

  4. Kathryn, this post almost made me teary-eyed; it was so gracefully written with love and compassion for our virtual community…Congratulations on this most deserving award, my friend. If not for your candle, my “screen” would be dark~Love and hugs to you, L xx

  5. I came here to say something about how this sentence evoked such a beautifully precious mental picture of each of us “carrying our little candles ahead of us with quavering hope.” It made me want to be one of THOSE people, the ones that are incandescent with the flickering illumination of all the many candles we have carried in our lives – each time we survived, or thrived, or reached out to another to lend support, or even when we huddle quietly in a corner, carefully watching the flickering of those precious flames from afar.

    Then I kept reading this beautiful post, and was surprised to find myself among your nominees for the Candle Lighter Award. I was momentarily stunned, to be honest. Especially considering that my most recent post was particularly dark and difficult and peppered with a plethora of uncomfortable memories, but then I took a deep breath and asked myself to consider that perhaps the reason I feel so compelled to write these posts in the blog world is because someone out there needs to hear them. They need to know that no matter how dark, or how difficult, or how much we doubt our own strength, that it really is possible to get up again, day after day, and keep moving forward. When we share our light, we share our strength, and today, especially, I thank you for your kind words.

    I also thank you for providing such a bountiful selection of new places to explore, and even though we’ve barely begun to get to know one another, after spending a little more time reading some of your writing, I am convinced we were supposed to cross paths in this vast internet world of blogging. Thank you for finding the gentle and the beautiful and the inspiration between all the other words that appear on my blog, because in my heart, and in my spirit, therein lies a person who wants nothing more than to cradle each and every one of us in a tender embrace, and speak words of soothing comfort. Thank you for hearing me. I hear you, too. Namaste, my friend.

  6. Dear lady, you are indeed shining light into dark corners that desperately need to be exposed and cleansed to make room for a more wholesome and peaceful world where souls can be nurtured and cherished. It’s terribly hard work, I know, and requires strength and commitment that few could even imagine, let alone bring into being, and that you have shouldered that burden and dared to hope for us to learn and become better with your help–that is a deep and precious gift.
    Thank you and Namaste, Friend.

  7. You, Kathryn, are so deserving of these awards and any that may come your way. Like moths to a flame, we all come to you every day and I, for one, always leave a little better than when I arrived, even if no more than I’m sporting a grin. Thank you for that and, Kathryn, thank you for honoring me with a Versatile Blogger Award. I’m working on my response to the Red Shoe Award, though I fear that my flat feet were never intended for anything nearly so fancy. (Two square pegs and a couple round holes immediately spring to mind, for some odd reason.)

    • Not to worry, John, as you know I refuse to give gifts with strings attached, so if you choose to respond it should be in your own way and your own good time. I am so happy that you spend some of your precious time visiting here and responding to my comments at your place as it is! Makes my day every time. 🙂

  8. This was a beautiful read, and it reminds me of why I started my blog in the first place. And “There’s dessert and light and warmth enough here for everyone” is something it seems easy for some people to forget, but it’s something we should all strive to remember.

    • Thank you for such support! It makes me grateful that we have each other’s welcoming places to visit and learn and be greeted with warmth and beauty. Here’s to a light-filled day for you!

  9. What an extraordinary post from an extraordinary woman. Your heart and mind shine with such a warmth, Kathryn. And there seems something about your light that breaks free from the laws of physics. Your light bends, travels around corners, weaves in and out of dark places. It not only illuminates colorless spaces, it comforts, inspires, uplifts, and offers hope. What a perfectly fitting award for you, the Candle that is Kathryn! What a joy you are to know!

    • Likewise, Antoinette, likewise! I find such sunny and comforting beauties every time I come to your marvelous blog, and feel so affirmed and happy with every contact. It means more than I can say!
      xo

  10. You do indeed hold your candle high, and light a path in the dark…and I am grateful for every tiny flicker. Your story about your nephew’s little voice in the dark brought tears…it reminded me of my son at that age. He woke one night from a bad dream…the house was filling up with water, and he was running room to room, looking for the rest of us…and he was alone. I still cry when I think of it.

    As for me being Versitile, I’m not sure that isn’t a nice way of saying, “So ADD she can’t stick to a topic,” but I appreciate the nod… 🙂

    Great photos, too.

  11. Lovely post Kathryn. I was reminded as a read it of quote I like a lot, which is – ‘sometimes our light goes out and is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being’ Albert Schweitzer.

  12. Blog is an ugly word, but what has come out of it is at times powerful, fun, informative, and beautiful. you’ve ticked those boxes (no not the ugly one) so many times Kathryn. But what I like best about blogging, if I could pin it down, would be that here we all are, on a journey, to who knows where. In my mind that makes it exciting and scary. All aboard!!

    • I’d call it, specifically, a train journey, since so many get on and off at different places, crossing each other’s itineraries from time to time, headed to varied destinations, some changing tickets along the way, an occasional derailment, stops in all sorts of wonderful previously-unknown places, and that glorious sense of still being On the Way to Something Great!

  13. Congratulations, Kathryn! What a beautiful acceptance and reflection on what blogging means, especially to those artistic, sensitive and often solitary souls who somehow decide to reach hesitantly and nervously out…

    ‘There’s dessert and light and warmth enough here for everyone.’

    That is such a powerfully unifying statement in the competitive world we live in. Thanks for all your eloquent sharing and appreciation! And I do apologize…as I have much catching up to do on your posts…will soon…they deserve so much more of my attention than I’ve been able to give lately.

    • We all have such busyness in our lives! Never fear that I am keeping score–I know that we all miss each other a surprising amount between visits for people who have never met in person, but given our lives outside of blogging I think it’s a pretty wonderful miracle when anyone has and takes the occasional time to stop by and say hello (“Like”), let alone comment! So no worries. I’m glad when you can visit, just as I’m grateful for my few chances to come over and see you ‘at home’ on your blog. Many hugs from here.
      Kathryn

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