“Let there be light.”
Anyone who enters our home knows immediately that we like candles. Whether you are in our kitchen or on our back porch, or upstairs or downstairs, we have candles just about everywhere.
Most of our candles are the kind you pick up at the Yankee Candle Shop in the King of Prussia Mall, or at places like The Old Candle Barn in Pennsylvania Dutch country of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. And though those are typical household candles, that doesn’t mean that they are chosen at random. Their colors and fragrances must fit the season whether it is spring, summer, fall or the Christmas holidays.
Each time we light them they warm us inside and out. But there are some candles which do more than that. Those candles transport us to places and hold us there longer than any other of their glowing companions.
I realized this recently when Evie lit one of them and said, “Every time I light this candle I go to Paris.” The last time we were in Paris was in 2010 when we had an extended layover on our way to India. The hotel room we rented was within walking distance of The Louvre, the world’s most visited museum.
We will never forget the day we walked from our hotel to the Louvre. On our way we found ourselves in the middle of a bike race. The closed streets were lined with thousands of spectators like us while hundreds of people, who seemed to be having incredible fun on all kinds of bikes, sped past us.
After lunch at a quaint sidewalk café, we walked along the Seine River and arrived at the Louvre where we stood in line at the famous, modern glass pyramid entrance. On this visit we were not planning to stay long because we had other things in Paris to see. That may sound like we lack the culture to spend time in a museum, but we have been there several times before and on this day we had other things to do.
Once inside we did look around for a little while; we had too — it was the Louvre after all. We walked into a little gift shop to pick up a memento of our visit. There on a shelf with other unique candles, our eyes fell on just the right one.
Later we walked down the boulevard-like sidewalk of the Champs Elysees ending up at the Arc de Triomphe. Every time we light that candle we remember that day and each time we have visited that amazing city.
There is another candle in our home which reminds us of Cairo, Egypt. No, we have never been there in person, but we do go there in our hearts each time we light it. I first met Dick Brogden in Africa while he was a high school student. He later was a student of mine while attending college in Minnesota. Now, he and his family live in Cairo, Egypt.
Dan, a VFCC faculty member, recently visited Cairo, Egypt and Dick asked him to give to us a beautiful, circular alabaster candle from him. When we light that candle, we remember our lifelong friendship with Dick and Jennifer; we remember their incredible leadership gifts; we remember all of our friends in that part of the world.
Throughout our home are many common candles we picked up in many common places like Lancaster County. Each one of them reminds me of my childhood because I was raised in that wonderful rural area. Their fragrance transports me back to the places where my life and character were formed. They remind me of the roots of my family and friends and faith which will forever be a part of my life.
“Every time a light a candle…” Who could ever imagine how much light can come from one little candle.
Think about it.
Dr. Don Meyer is President of Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA
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