"It's a dark world....be the light!"
I was destined to be in 4-H probably from before I was born. The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth through experiential learning programs and a positive youth development approach - ok, I copied that from the official definition! You belong to a club, do projects and go to camp - and so much more! Being in 4-H was a family tradition! My grandfather, my mother, all my cousins.....then me ......then my son and now my granddaughters!
We all shared in the joy that 4-H has to offer..... but we all lived for camp. That one week - in heat of the summer - when we met up with friends who we only saw that one time of year...and took classes and played sports and sang songs and laughed....and sometimes cried....especially at the last council circle of the week. For me, the highlight of each day was council circle. We sat in the area designated for our tribe (for me, Cherokee) and said a lot of "How How's", sang a lot of great songs and did funny skits and crazy challenges. As it got dark, the famous words were uttered: "there shall be complete silence while the Ishkatay lights the fire." A different mood came over everyone as we watched intently - and silently - as the fire took hold and the flames shot towards the sky - as if reaching for the heavens. Then someone, we never knew who exactly, started softly singing and we all joined in:
Brightly beams, our Father's mercy, from His lighthouse ever more
Unto us, He gives the keeping, of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning, send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seamen, you may rescue, you may save.
In 2009, we started our winter getaways to Tybee Island - and I fell in love with Cockspur Lighthouse. Built on an oyster and mussel bed in 1837, as only a daymarker, with no lights - it was retrofitted in 1848 with lights and reflectors. Standing only 46 fee tall, it is the smallest lighthouse in Georgia. It's light was extinguished for a time during the Civil War. Surprisingly it suffered little or no damage even though it was in the direct line of fire. It was re-lit in 1866 but was extinguished in 1909 due to the change in shipping channels.
I take a LOT of photos of this lighthouse, and with each click of the shutter, I hear the words of that 4-H song I love so much......especially the words "you may rescue you may save." How often does our light help others - I'm thinking quite often - and most of the time we probably don't even realize it.
We all have our lights that shine for others - however "small" we are......just like the Cockspur Lighthouse. Even more importantly, we have a responsibility to "shine our lights."
Sometimes that light is in the form of being positive....other times by letting your light shine you give courage to others during hard days and hopeless times. It takes courage to let your light shine - but other people need your courage - they need your light!
And YOU need your light. When you are going through your hardest storms, shining your light for others that light will reflect back to you.
I want to share with you some quotes that hopefully will encourage you to let your light shine - BE THE LIGHT!
“Simply shine your light on the road ahead, and you are helping others to see their way out of darkness.” – Katrina Mayer
“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
“Your greatest test is when you are able to bless someone else while you are going through your own storm.” – Unknown
“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to the shining—they just shine.” – Dwight L. Moody
“Your work is to discover who you are and then with all your heart give your light to the world.” – J. W.
“Accept your light and let it shine to create your own lighthouse on a stormy night.” – Pauline Duncan-Thrasher
This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine,
Hide it under a bushel, no, I'm going to let it shine,
All around this world, I'm going to let it shine
Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine