Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Two Thousand Year Old Lamp

This morning I lighted a lamp. An ancient lamp. More than two thousand years old. A tiny lamp, small enough to cradle in the palm of my hand. A lamp blackened by age and fire, its finely incised decorations still visible despite millenia of burial and abuse. A broken lamp, showing a rust red scar where the tiny handle had once been. I lit this lamp.

I thought of all the years I had delayed lighting the lamp. Putting it off until some special day, some day worthy of marking. And how at that moment, on a perfectly ordinary morning I was rekindling a flame long dead. It was an act of ritual devotion. A greeting to the morning, to opportunity, to hope, to life, to Spirit.

I celebrated the unknown hands, the women, who had held this lamp in just such a way, and tended its wayward light. I saw how it must have looked, tucked into a crevice in the hardened dirt walls, illuminating the inner space, where family met perhaps to rest at the passing of a long day. It cast long shadows to my present.

Since it first came into my possession, I have waited a mere quarter century to light the lamp. Trembled at the prospect of a burning bush experience. Delayed. Procrastinated because the thing required some work, some preparation of wick and oil. I might not do it right. It might not light afterall. Now in the afterglow of Pentecost, I have simply lighted the lamp.

Scent of sandlewood oil rose in the warmth of the flame. I was one with scent and lamp and flame. New beginning. New and Ancient Presence. For a brief moment. Then the light flickered, flared, faded and died. I felt a brief a sigh of disappointment, then determination to light the lamp again. And again. And again. Until I get it right. Morning and Evening I Will light the Lamp.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was a lot of symbolism in lighting this lamp! May 19th was a new beginning for me too. A celebration of love, life forgivness and acceptance.
It was 4 years ago , May 19th that we were all together in Dad's church, and he walking me down the aisle. So much had happened in these 4 years, illness,death, children,battling a deadly disease and a new house. May 19th of this year was a new beginning with my family, loved ones-and for myself. How easy it is to get swept away in the business of the day, and not notice the simplicity and serenity before you.
Thank you for this today, it has brought me back down to where I need to be.
Love, B

annie said...

I have seen the glow of this lamp, have felt its laser sharpness piercing my soul, boring through judgemental and sancitmonious parts of me. I have seen that light shine like diamond, a small pinprick of brilliance bringing me hope when I thought all was darkness. I have basked in the full out brilliance of this light. Thank you so much for sharing, for reminding me to look for the light.

Kristin said...

So beautiful. I'm moved, and also am without words to express it.

bobbie said...

on connie - i LOVE that you lit it - hurray! i also would love pictures!

you are such an amazing woman - i saw a woman in the grocery store the other day that reminded me of you and i wanted to go up and give her a hug! :)

miss you big time!

Lynne said...

Wow. That is so cool. Keep on lighting it. Enjoy. Breathe deep.