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You: A Light in the Darkest of Times

Very Happy Elephant at ENP (Photo by D. Rutter)

What does it really mean to be a light in times of darkness? We see this every day, in memes, online. It’s a very easy thing to say, “keep your inner spark burning to light the path for others”.

But what is the true cost of doing that?

It’s easy to be a light when you belong to a society that you believe is moving, albeit slowly, in the “right” direction. When you think that the justness of your cause or belief is destined to someday sway the situation. When a wrong so painfully obvious to you is illuminated to those in power who then take steps to investigate, to shut down, or to fix. When groups band together to strive for a common goal.

But what happens when the institutions, people, and even your own friends and family move further and further from good?

When a society starts chipping away at decency, kindness and compassion? When people in power abuse their status, victimize the small, the environment, the elderly and the voiceless.

What then?

How on earth can we keep our light when the darkness presses in on us from all directions, the winds howl and our little candle within sputters and weakens?

When the only thing standing between all we hold dear and the abyss, is a tired, terrified and vulnerable flame vanishing inside of our soul?

We need to shelter our flame.

Have you ever tried to light a candle in the breeze? Or hold a match while walking?

You have to make a tiny shelter, a little cup out of your hands, to protect that infant spark, until it can gain strength and grow larger.

It is vital that we do this for our soul spark as well. We need to enclose our weak, struggling flame and encase it in a warm, sheltering space. Find your precious victories and celebrate them like the huge accomplishments they are!

Did you give water to a bee today? Did you spend time with your rescue dog? Read to a child? Gently educate a friend or relation on a cause you care about? Did you take time out to read a great book, bake your favorite treat? Pick up trash? Sign a petition?

If so, then take heart. You have done enough. You have fought the battle and won. You made your day magical and victorious you allowed your flame of kindness and compassion to save the day and for this time, in this hour, that is an earth changing accomplishment.

Don’t be disheartened at the state of the “big picture”, the hubris of the rich, powerful and corrupt or the lack of compassion in culture and society because in your way, in your world and to anyone paying attention, you are a hero.

Any action you take- ANY action, regardless of how seemingly small and insignificant is a powerful step towards tipping the balance back to compassion.

You have built your mini-fortress around your flickering flame and you have allowed it to live another day.

You are a hero.

So if the road seems exhausting and the flame of your conviction sputters, and the situation gets worse every day, take heart.

We fight on, even when there appears no chance for a victory in the larger sense, because we must, because to do nothing is unthinkable.

Maybe at the end of the day, this is the ultimate victory of our compassion and kindness, not to reshape the world, but to sustain a world wherein those two resources are in short supply.

No one needs a candle in the sunshine.

A beautiful light.

* Arte for Elephants was started by two artists who wanted to use their talent to help save abused elephants and get them moved into permanent homes. To date we have raised nearly $30,000 for elephant sanctuaries around the world. Stop by one of our shows and say "hi", check out our Etsy shop, or join us in a volunteer trip round the world! Thank you for reading our blog.

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