My daughter brought one of her Willow Tree figurines to my bedroom the other night. “Look, Mom,” she said. “It’s broken. The flame is gone, but the girl is still protecting it. She doesn’t notice that the flame is missing. I wrote a poem about it, Mom.” This really struck me. I wonder how someone could have a flame gone and not notice? Would she still go through the same motions? Or is she too busy and distracted to do something about it? What a tragedy—to have had a flame at one time, and to still have the lamp. To feel a need to protect a lamp that doesn’t work!
Someone talked to me on the phone last week. “I’ll talk to you next week now that you have more time,” they said. I didn’t tell them the truth. The truth is that I actually DON’T have more time. Stuck at the house, I now have a group of people who all belong to me and call me Mom. (Well, except Todd, unless he slips and gets confused.) Based on the noise level, I think there are more of them than there were a couple of weeks ago. Between directing homeschooling, who needs to be on the computer, running the household, and working on Leaving a Legacy projects, I have spent days with my heart and mind going in a million directions! Am I the only one who is hearing voices clamoring for my attention from every area? Online articles, news media, communication with friends, and things I need to do are bombarding my brain! I have slipped over to the empty church next door to find that everything is still pressing all around, (Oh no, I forgot to text back. Where is my phone?) as I struggle to get the proverbial prayer door shut. Shut on the swirling thoughts! Even as I got alone, I still couldn’t focus! I felt so dry and depleted! “Lord,” I begged, “I need oil! Give me oil!”
Recently, the age-old story of the ten virgins has come up in our house. “I want to have enough oil to share,” I told my children. “I don’t want to barely have enough for just me.” And since I have a strong-willed child with even stronger ideas, that statement started a debate.
“Not possible, Mom!” my adolescent told me. “Everybody has to have oil for himself. You can’t give oil to others. This oil is salvation and God, and everyone has to get that for himself.”
Maybe he’s right. But I feel a desire to wake up and check my oil. I want to go to the One Who has the oil and get a refilling. Maybe I can’t take anyone’s lamp with me, but can I call out, “Get up! Come with me! Let’s get all the oil we need! Come on! Let’s go!”
Our light’s gone out
Our hope is lost
We seem not to notice
We continue to guard the candle
That has no flame
We hold it out in the darkness
Not recognizing that the darkness remains the same
We’ve lost our light
Because we’ve changed