Give This World Some Light, and Its People Will Find Their Way

The sun was about to set, allowing darkness to take control. One member of our hunting group had fallen out of formation. If we didn’t locate him soon, then finding him in the darkened forest would be difficult. We were not equipped to embark on a nighttime search and rescue, and to do so would risk the lives of the remaining four members. 

For as long as I can remember, my four elder brothers would go on an annual hunting trip. Their adventures took them all through northern Ontario, Quebec, and at times Newfoundland and Labrador. The hunting licence won in the season lottery dictated whether they trekked for deer or for moose. I was never one to participate in these annual excursions. As a boy, I occasionally joined my father in trapping rabbits. I’ve participated in fishing trips on the French River, in Quebec, to the north of Chicoutimi just where the treeline starts, and of course in Newfoundland. But hunting . . . it just wasn’t my style. I’m an animal lover, so I could never see myself taking a gun and actually killing one, even if the purpose was to keep the herd population under control. 

But this decision has always left me on the outside of all the stories told afterward. I would have to hear my brothers tell me about their adventures year after year, each time only being able to laugh at them, never with them; I was never able to relive their experiences. One year, I decided to join the merry men. Not as a hunter, but simply as a "tag-a-long." The alarm was set for 4:30 a.m. and it came as early as its setting demanded. With food, guns, ammunition, rain gear, and excitement, we quickly boarded my brand new SUV and made our way to the designated hunting park, about an hour north of Ottawa.

Just before the hunting trip, my business partner Gordy had purchased a brand new Jeep Laredo. It was metallic black and complimented with sport chrome rims. The interior was grey. It had all the bells and whistles, including a moonroof—something the automakers were just introducing. It was a beauty, and I liked it so much that I leased an identical one. Gordy was not pleased with my copycat purchase, but I was—even in spite of the criticism and ridicule. I loved that vehicle and cared for it as well as anyone could.

We finally made contact with our lost brother by walkie-talkie. He was relieved to hear our voices. We scouted the trails trying to locate him but could not. Darkness had now completely settled in. With time escaping us, my other three brothers, who were of course older and therefore wiser, approached me with the only possible solution. We had to go back to the place where we left the Jeep and drive it in through the woods as far as we could possibly go, with Lloyd’s voice providing direction. As soon as I heard the idea my mind said no. All I could think of were the tree branches scrapping along the sides of the Jeep and forever ruining that pristine black metallic finish. But then they told me why. Maybe if we drove in the right direction and far enough into the woods, our missing brother would see the lights of the Jeep and be led towards us—and that is exactly what happened. The choice between damaging a new SUV and my brother’s safety was quite simple. After the fear had left, we had a good laugh. But that’s a story to be told at the next family gathering.

People are constantly looking for a light to remove the darkness from their lives. Many times that source of light is found in the lives of celebrities from Hollywood or Bollywood, sports, politics, or business. We often live our lives vicariously through these people. Our poor, mindless state extravagantly feeds our appetite for entertainment and sports channels, gossip papers, and celebrity magazines. If these are not the answer, we may expect drugs or excessive alcohol to be our shining light, only to realize that they drive us deeper into the depths of despair and dismay. We are constantly searching for a light to overcome the darkness.

But how do we find light in such a dark world? Day after day, we see the live TV images of another senseless bombing, taking the lives of innocent people and maiming unsuspecting bystanders. Dictators who would rather kill their own people than surrender their power never seem to disappear. Even in our own backyard, individuals who strive for attention, who cannot control their anger, and who place no value on human life, dominate the headlines.

The light of this world is not dim, nor will it ever be snuffed out by the wicked and evil deeds of the ignorant. We must never let the tombstones of the fallen, the disfigurement of the injured, or the scars of the wounded become testaments to the wicked behavior of a few. Proverbs 5:22 

Last week my car was in for service, which caused me to take the GO Train to work. It being mid-morning, I missed the express train, so the train I was on made all the stops from Oakville to Union Station. When we stopped in Port Credit, an elderly woman slowly stepped onto the train. Behind her was a much younger woman. They sat across from each other and across the aisle from me. Within minutes, an intriguing conversation erupted between them. I couldn’t help but overhear what they were saying. The elderly woman was 92 years young and very sophisticated. She lived in a retirement residence. While they took good care of her there, she was determined not to allow herself to be imprisoned or for her life be constrained or defined by a few square feet of living space. She was on her way to downtown Toronto to meet a few friends for lunch. Rather than take a taxi, she was determined to use public transit for most of the journey. The younger woman was in her mid-twenties. She was tall, slim, and attractive. Both women were immaculately dressed and exceptionally well groomed. The younger woman was from Calgary where she studied to be an esthetician. She accepted a job in Toronto and was on her way to work. She did not mind engaging in conversation with the older woman. As we entered Union Station, the younger woman took the time to help the elderly woman find her way off the train, through the maze of people, and to the top of Union Station where she could find a taxi to take her to see her friends. As the younger woman left helping the elderly woman along, she caught my attention and I smiled. She knew the message behind my innocent smile and acknowledged it by smiling back. My smile intended to say, "I am impressed by your patience, your charity, your willingness, your sacrifice, and by the brilliant light that you are shining on this elderly woman and on us!"

I learned that in this world, there are some who are still willing and determined to let their light shine. And I must too. If all of us are determined to do the same, the intensity of that light will be so great that darkness will never find its way in. 
In one of the religious holy books (1 Corinthians 13:1), we are reminded:

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I had prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not charity, I am nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even burdened my body, and I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity boasts not itself; is not puffed up; does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. And now exists faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

Give this world some light, and its people will find their way!