Love is spelled Light

Recently i shared a small snippet on what it means to be a light. It was a chance to share one of the things of my life for which I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for it because we live in a world that focuses on “ME”. It focuses on things we can get from life, whether it be wealth, status or just generally our wellbeing. All those things are nice, they are great actually. However there’s more to living than this.

I’ve found that one of the things I do naturally and effectively is to be a light. What does that mean exactly?

The idea of it comes from the book of Matthew in chapter 5:16 where it says;

“So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 (Passion translation)

In a more general sense of the translation to be a light means to shine or to bring light to people’s lives. It means to encourage, empower and set an example. It means supporting or showing love to those around you.

It’s about shining a light on something, like in the same way a light shone in the darkness reveals the true identity of something.

I’ve found over time that people need other people. We carry burdens, we carry fragments of our past which even though are in our past they still touch, linger and affect our futures. It’s not always easy to see things for what they really are. We see them through the lens we get used to seeing them through. And this affects our ability to look forward.

I’ve found that i have a way with words. Almost always in a context of writing something. But I’ve learned also that sometimes those words need to be spoken. Words have meaning. They impact us.

While words spoken can have an impact, it is examples which impact more. Examples are best set by actions. Our presence can mean a lot to someone, just having someone being there fills a void that can be incredibly beneficial.

What is it we carry that is so beneficial?

We carry a presence which reflects the nature of who we are. It’s partially personality but if anything it’s more than that. It stems from the heart and your deepest desires. My heart seems to carry vast amounts of compassion, empathy and love. It’s hard to know why but it does.

It’s only been recent years that I’ve let that part of me really be seen. Not for fear of what others would think, but honestly? It was that I truly did not understand what it was that i carried within me.

It’s one thing to be nice to someone. I always found that easy. But it’s something far greater to step out and just be there for someone. Sometimes it’s just a message, a conversation. Even just a moment. What counts in that moment is the example. It’s the action which speaks loudest.

It’s like saying;

“Friend, nothing else matters. I support you. I want you to see that i am simply here for you”.

Nothing is expected in return for this isn’t about me. It’s about doing the very thing i believe we are here for. Each other.

We are here for each other.

That is what it means to be a light. I know that at the other end of the spectrum it is people’s words and presence which have encouraged me over time.

Sometimes we know where to go but can’t seem to find our way there. This is where we need other people. I don’t think its coincidence that the people in our lives are who they are. I think they all play a role in shaping who we are meant to become. It is their words, their encouragement, their constant presence and support which helps us find our way.

When I think about my presence I want to know that i made a difference. I want to know that I stopped and helped someone when they needed it.


Because not everyone will do it. People will be left to fend for themselves, or feel that their circumstances left them unworthy of a good deed. I see people made to pay continuously for their poor decisions. I see people living without belief of better days ahead. Of choosing to believe that hope is something they cannot touch because they feel they don’t deserve it.

But hope is a powerful thing. Hope is a presence that restores the broken, it recharges the defeated and it reminds the lost that you will find that place you desire once more.

That is why shining a light for all to see is so important.

My light is your hope. Light shines for all to see. Your hope shines brightest in the darkest moments, like the sun that rises after the night’s longest hour. I’m reminded of that every time the sun breaks out after a storm.

Friends as Christmas passes and a new year closes in remind yourself to think of those around you. Be encouraged that your presence can be someone else’s light.

The art of being a lifesaver

There’s something i have discovered in recent years about myself. It takes years to grasp the identity of who you really are, we’re constantly learning things about ourselves. We do it from a young age, through our teenage years it becomes intense but we struggle to process it properly for the most part. Over time we begin to realise there are certain things which we hold true and care about more than others
One of the best things i have learned is to uncover the identity of who I really am. What do I mean by that? Yes, i know who I am, but i’m talking more about the things that make me — Me. For me the journey to this has two parts. First, the life experiences that I’ve gone through. The experiences, the lessons, the people who have influenced me all form part of the identity that I’ve become. People are probably the biggest influence on who you become in life. You are essentially what you practice.
I consider myself a loyal friend, an honest friend. The kind that will be there when others desert you. It all sounds ideal but life is never that straight forward. Things happen, circumstances change and time can go by and relationships take on different foundations. But part of who i am is that i want to be the guy that puts others ahead of myself. I will literally drop what i’m doing if a friend needs something.
The other side to my identity comes from God. As a Christian this identity evolves over time. This one forms more mysteriously and can be even harder to understand. Some struggle with this their entire lives. It’s possible for a Christian to go their entire life and fail to work it out. What I’ve discovered is that i’m stronger than i ever give myself credit for. I’ve got a faith in God that could probably have broken several times now but arguably it is stronger now than it’s ever been.
I like to think that another area this has served me well in is in those things that mean the most to me. I’ve discovered that compassion is something that is important to me. Part of me has always tried to play the art of a lifesaver. Understanding the need for and showing empathy is just something I’ve always thought was important. I guess you could say I’ve adopted a mantra where if everything is under control for me then i should be looking out for those around me who mean something to me.
This year I decided to do two things that i felt were overdue. I decided to financially support some non profit organisations. Organisations which i had long endorsed and supported but never financially. The first was Save The Children. They are a humanitarian group who do terrific things world wide supporting kids in marginalised, war torn, famine effected lands. In a world where it seems you either have, or you don’t. I think it’s important to remember there are others out there with little control over their circumstances, and they rely on non profit’s like Save The Children to just make it through the day.
About a 2 months ago i started supporting another non profit. Love 146. I’ve endorsed their work for many years now. Love 146 represent the kids of this world who are affected by slavery and trafficking among other things. Their story starts with a man named Rob Morris who 16 years ago was haunted by a little girl he met who was saved from the trafficking system. She was given the number 146 and it started from there.
What they do is beautiful because at it’s simplest action it is an act of love. It’s reaching out a hand and saying “i got you, don’t be afraid, let us show you a better life.”. It’s a life that everyone deserves but too many seem lost in a web of deceit, sinister motives and rotten hearts.
Being a lifesaver isn’t about putting on a cape and wearing a lycra suit. It’s simply about recognising a need and doing something about it. It’s about having a heart that sees the need to intervene. Life is both a choice and a gift. I wonder what would happen if we started giving to lives on a more regular basis? I’m not just talking financially, but rather the idea of investing yourself in someone or something requires your thought, your time and a commitment. It could be sharing coffee? It could even be something as simple as making an effort to talk to someone.
That seems to be the problem these days. We as people are too invested in the wrong things. We focus too much attention on ourselves and often on things that really matter little. That reminds me of a quote from one of my favourite writers/speakers today. Jamie Tworkowksi is the founder of American non profit — To Write Love On Her Arms. TWLOHA exists to support and love anyone who is struggling. Whether that struggle is depression, the pain of losing something or one of life’s many other social taboo subjects, they exist to remind people that love can move and that hope most definitely exists.
Jamie has an amazing heart, he also has an amazing way with words and i often find myself in awe of his ability to say the right things for the right time. In this particular blog Jamie wrote of the responsibility we all have to those we come in to contact with, especially the ones we consider our friends, family or even colleagues. He said;
“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and roadtrips, airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else YOU WILL NEED OTHER PEOPLE, and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things” – Jamie Tworkowski
I loved that quote so much that i bought a t-shirt with it printed on front of it. I connect with it because in my role of seemingly wanting to play “the lifesaver”, I want those closest to me to be encouraged by the same things. I want them to know that i get it. I get that life isn’t just about me. It’s about all of us. It’s about leaning on each other. Sharing the good times and softening the blows when the tough times come. We are not alone in this. We never were and we never will be.
We all have roles to play. Roles which require us to think outside our own square, or step outside of our comfort zones. The challenge in this is far outweighed by the reward though. It all starts with a simple action — just let it go from there.