Before electricity, large cities such as London and New York City had lamp lighters. Men who would walk the boulevards and light the gas lamps along the main streets and upper class neighborhoods (Reference the recent movie Mary Poppins Returns with Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack, the lamp lighter?)
I’ve been fascinated by the metaphorical idea of this important role in each other’s lives- lighting the lamp, illuminating the dark. I know it’s such a Victorian analogy, but imagine you are on a dark lane in foggy London. You really can’t see your way, perhaps not even your hand in front of you.
And then comes someone who brings you a lamp or lights the tall gas lamp and the gold glow brightens the sidewalk underneath you, the fog dispels as you make out corners of buildings and street signs.
The lamp lighter went before you. He has the flame, the torch to give you sight in the night. You feel comforted, safe, and most of all, you don’t feel alone as you make your way through the darkness unfamiliar paths before you.
We all need lamp lighters in our life.
Imagine if a lamp lighter is a person in your life who lights not a physical space, but illuminates you, sees the real you and holds the lamp up high for you to be encouraged, guided, to know you are not alone.
If your partner in life holds the light for you when something dark surrounds you, overwhelms you, your sense of trust, of faith in the person grows exponentially. When you literally feel as if darkness is all you can feel or see in your life, this person is here to help you see even the smallest glints of light, of hope.
There is plenty in the 21st century that can spin us all into darkness: a worldwide pandemic, losing our job, losing our bearing in a world that seems to have lost its guidance system.
Everyone stumbles in their lives. Everyone transgresses and creates their own type of darkness. We need each other to light the way, to give a beam of light, to help those in darkness to see a great light.
It’s inevitable that you will be in the dark emotionally, spiritually, and physically in some aspect of your life at different points along your journey. Imagine having a partner, a spouse, a good friend, who lit the path before you, reminded you who you are, not the circumstances of your life being the indicator of your true light.
We need reminding of who we are, for the light to shine inside us and encouragement and hope given. This is what a lamp lighter is in your life. They shine their love toward you, their belief in you doesn’t diminish, it burns bright, warms you, shows you how you are loved.
And in return, we hold the lamp for another, we light their darkness with words of kindness, words of appreciation and affirmation. We give them our light of love.
Go ahead, hold the light up for you, for another. Be a lamp lighter!