October 23, 2015

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

What I learned in the dark beyond a kid’s science lesson

Debra Tomaselli“Grandma, Grandma!”

Matthew, my 6-year-old grandson, shouted as he jumped out of the big white van, waving a florescent plastic star in his hand. Angelina, 5, emerged, brandishing pages of black construction paper covered with yellow circles. Ave, 7, followed, leaping from the vehicle wielding a Ziploc bag filled with black play dough that was covered with glitter.

“Group hug,” I said, as they raced toward me. We embraced, wiggling in delight. “How was your class on outer space?”

The girls explained that the construction paper cutouts represented planets, and the sparkly black play dough resembled moon rocks.

Finally, Matthew spoke up.

“Grandma,” he yelled. “Look at this!”

He held a plastic star in his hand, raising it for me to see. “The teacher says it glows in the dark. We’re going into Angelina’s closet to see it. You want to come with us?”

“Yes,” I shouted. “I love glow in the dark stuff!”

Immediately, the small group of siblings dashed inside. Eyes shining with delight, they sprinted down the hallway to Angelina’s room.

I caught their excitement. I caught their joy. I couldn’t wait to see the star glow in the dark. I raced after them.

Once we reached Angelina’s room, we piled into the closet and jammed the door shut. Everything went black.

We could no longer see the ruffled dresses stuffed on the racks beside us. The pile of dirty clothes littering the closet floor was no longer visible. Even the faces of my grandchildren disappeared in the darkness.

Matthew thrust the star high above his head. It was easy to spot. There was no missing it. In fact, it was the only thing you could see, and it was glowing brightly through the gloom.

We turned to stare at it. There was silence, except for a chorus of oooh’s and aaah’s elicited by all of us. We were star-struck.

“Cool, isn’t it?” Matthew asked.

Indeed it was. Indeed, it captivated all of us.

And I thought.

Sometimes we are in the dark.

It may be health concerns or grief issues. Maybe it’s financial problems or difficult business decisions. Perhaps it’s the challenges of friendships or married life.

In this life, darkness does exist.

That’s when we need someone to show us the light. We need someone to invite us, to be so excited about this light that we race to follow.

That light, of course, is the light of Christ. That person, of course, is you and me.

We are the light of the world.

Years ago when I was ill, my Bible study group delivered meals. When I battled guilt after my brother’s untimely death, a friend shared a homily about how to accept the mercy of God. When my husband and I faced financial struggles during the recent recession, an unexpected inheritance arrived from a faith-filled relative.

Those actions lit up my world and brought me to Christ.

Yes, we are the light of the world. Catch the excitement. Bring others along with you. And hold that Christ-light high.

You’ll see. It’ll glow in the dark.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at dtomaselli@cfl.rr.com.)

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