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Darlene Franklin-Campbell, August 31, 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that it’s only in the darkness that we can see the stars. So, the darker the night, the more obvious a star. A literal translation of that for those not so metaphorically inclined is that it’s only in a troubled time, a dire situation, the face of discouragement, that we really notice hope. If all things are going smoothly then we don’t have to exercise hope so much. But hope is that which breaks through our darkness. As Desmond Tutu once said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Once I went to Mammoth Cave. The tour guide turned out the lights. The darkness was the darkest dark I had ever seen. Then she turned on her flashlight and everywhere that single light source touched was lit. No matter how dark a place is, just one small light, so long as it shines, makes a difference in whether you walk with sure footing or you fall into a crevice. Never underestimate the power of a light, no matter how small it may seem.

Over the past two years, we’ve been bombarded with images of darkness (metaphorically speaking). The news has been filled with disease, plagues, floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, war, threats of more wars, possibly biological warfare (I know the jury is still out on that one) riots, political unrest, upheaval in every realm imaginable; mayhem, death, destruction, despair and discouragement, but but whenever I go out at night, the first thing I notice is the stars, the light. If it is raining or cloudy, then I notice every porch light or every glimmer of the moon that lightens the clouds. Light is energy and it always finds a way to get through, even if it’s just through cracks or around the edges of a shade. One sliver of light drives away the darkest dark. So, I’d like to focus on a few slivers of light, of hope.

Hope is free. It is no respecter of persons. Hope doesn’t care where you come from or what shade of fleshly vehicle you’re driving through your life on earth. Hope is an equal opportunity encourager. Hope is not bound to geographic regions, not stopped by prison walls, not squelched by floods or burned away by fires. Hope is not buried in landslides. Hope, the earnest expectation of what is to come, is unstoppable so long as we refuse to let go of it. Even in death, if we leave this world in hope, refusing to let go of it, we leave a light for others. I believe we are eternal, spiritual beings. You can’t kill a spirit. You can’t kill an eternal being. You can only destroy the body that houses it. Hope is the flower pushing its way up through a crack in life’s sidewalk.

We can each be a source of hope to others and since in the Laws of the Spiritual Universe, we are all connected, each time we offer hope to others, we receive it back to ourselves as well.

How can we be a source of hope? Here’s a few examples:

*A man on my street just mowed his sick neighbor’s yard–no charge.

He didn’t ask what political party the neighbor belonged to or whether or not he was vaccinated. He was a source of hope, not judgement.

*A woman just bought groceries and dropped them off at a sick person’s house.

She didn’t say, “Pay me back for my trouble.” She was a source of hope, not racking up an account on a covert contract.

A nurse in a COVID unit just helped a patient charge his Ipad so he could FaceTime his family.

Even though it wasn’t the reason she was in his room. She went above and beyond her pay. Her kindness was a ray of sunshine, a beam of hope.

A man walking his dog past an emergency room door, stopped to cheer up a woman whose husband was inside with a possible pulmonary ambulism. She waited outside, not allowed in the hospital and uninformed of her husband’s condition.

He didn’t care that she was from a different cultural background. He was an example of human kindness, a ray of hope.

A boss just gave an employee extra time off because her father was ill and she wanted to be with him.

She didn’t complain about someone else having to work extra hours. She showed compassion and empathy, a ray of hope.

A lady in the checkout line just told the boy behind the counter that she appreciated his work ethic and thanked him for showing up to do a job that keeps the country running.

She didn’t complain about having to wait a little longer in line than she usually likes to wait. She offered encouragement, another ray of hope.

A lady in North Carolina just said a prayer for a young man from her hometown who is being flown to Afghanistan.

It didn’t matter that he isn’t her own son. She showed compassion–hope.

A church group of volunteers just set up a free food day in their parking lot to help feed their community.

They didn’t ask for proof of citizenship, vaccination or income. They just fed people and offered them hope.

A young Black girl just celebrated her 13th birthday with her White mother and grandmother, Black grandmother and boyfriend and White cousins who are like brothers to her.

Nobody even mentioned skin tones. They just laughed and loved and played together because they’re family and they all gave her words of a hopeful future, many birthdays to come.

A teacher just spend half the summer setting up her classroom for the students that are coming back. She prayed over every chair and the child that would sit in each seat. She planned her bulletin boards and hung posters and curtains and prepared record books and on and on and on…even ordered hermit crabs and fish, because she loves her kids and wants them to have the best experience possible at school.

She was only given $200 in funding to prepare her classroom. She spent $500.00 and school hasn’t even started. So, most of it came from her own purse. She can only get tax credit on $200 out of pocket expense. She will spend a lot more before the year is out. But she does it in hope that her kids will learn and know that they are loved. For some kids, a teacher is the only rare of love and hope they see.

The good is all around us. The light is shining. Perhaps today you can think of someone who has given you hope or some sign of hope that came to you when all seemed to be sinking around you. And maybe, you are also a ray of hope to someone else. We need each other. The darkness would have us divided over issues and policies, but hope reminds us that we are all great spiritual beings and this life on earth is better if we see each other that way. Not one of us can actually see what’s inside another person’s heart and not one of us knows what miracles a single act of kindness can set in motion because that act has restored hope or perhaps awakened it for the first time in someone’s life.


Lesson from a Chandelier

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Think of this.

If I clean my chandelier because my aunt is coming and I’m afraid she’ll criticize my housekeeping, or say something like, “I don’t know why I even gave you that chandelier. You never clean it. You don’t appreciate the things I give you,” then why am I cleaning it?


Fear of guilt.

Fear of criticism.

Either way, it’s still fear.

If I’m doing it out of fear of being criticized and/or guilted, I become prone to being critical of her criticisms and guilting. I become hyper aware of the criticisms and therefore the thing I fear becomes reality.

If I clean the chandelier because my friends are coming over, and I am seeking their adoration and admiration, then why I am doing it?

Could it be out of fear of not being special?

Maybe it’s of not having some sort of prestige and power in my circle.

Hence, in a sense I’m doing it out of pride. But what is pride? I mean what is it, really?

I think maybe pride is ultimately the fear of looking bad or not being “special” enough. Pride is the need to feel superior to others in some way. In today’s culture, we could call it a streak of narcissism. Narcissism, either overt or covert, is basically–fear of being unimportant, of not being “enough.”

If I clean it because I’m worried that there are germs living on the chandelier and I might get sick, then I am also doing it out of a fear of dying.

But what if I clean it because it makes me happy to see light shining through clear, clean glass?

What if I truly appreciate the clear crystal and shimmer?

What if I clean the chandelier just because I personally love a clean chandelier, kind of how I love to hang prisms in the windows and see rainbows all over the floor?

Then I am no longer cleaning it out of fear.

Now, I’m cleaning it out of appreciation.

And somehow, I feel joy in the cleaning. It’s the same amount of work, but it doesn’t “feel” like work. It feels peaceful, because I’m thinking about how beautiful it will look when I’m done. I’m thinking of how much pleasure I will feel when I look at it. It is no longer a menial task but a labor of love and an act of creating. I’m envisioning the pure light shining through the clear glass and I get happy thinking about it.

If I clean it because I think I have to do it, because I’m afraid of being criticized or guilted or not being special or of germs, then there is no joy for me in the act of cleaning it and the act feels like a burden.

It feels like work.

Obviously, this post isn’t really about cleaning chandeliers. It’s about motivations.

Sometimes, it’s in examining why we do the little things, like cleaning a chandelier, that we discover our reasons for doing bigger things and in making these discoveries, the little things in our lives become the big things. I will henceforth find myself asking, “Why are you really doing this?”


words and music by Zach Williams

“For God (the Great Spirit, the Almighty Source, the Ultimate Power, the I Am, the unconditional, unmerited, unearnable acceptance known as LOVE) has not given you a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:17

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
You’ll never be enough

Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear, he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear, he is a liar

When he told you were troubled
You’ll forever be alone
When he told you you should run away
You’ll never find a home
When he told you you were dirty
And you should be ashamed
When he told you you could be the one
That grace could never changeOh, fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath

Stop you in your steps
Fear, he is a liar
He will rob your rest

Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear, he is a liar

Let your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let your fire fall, your love is all I feel
Let your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let your fire fall, your love is all I feel

Let your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let your fire fall, your love is all I feel
Oh, let your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let your fire fall, your love is all I feelOh, fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear, he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear, he is a liar’Cause fear, he is a

Fear not for I am with you says the Lord. Do not be discouraged. I am your God. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you (lift you up) with my righteous (almighty knowledge of what is good and best) right hand (my limitless power and ability)” Isaiah 41:10

No matter what you face, remember that you are not alone. Right now, many people are hurting and many people are afraid but there is a LOVE in this universe that supersedes everything and that LOVE is a living entity that gives life to all things and connects us. That LOVE is an ALMIGHTY SPIRIT and that spirit resides in all who reach out and believe. That is the same SPIRIT that Jesus talked about, that same SPIRIT can restore us, heal us and remind us that we, too, are SPIRIT. The real me is not the body I live in. My body is just a vehicle with which to travel in the mortal realm. My gender, my culture, my ethnicity, my epidermal melanin concentration, my height, weight, age nor any other facet of my flesh and blood existence on this earth, is the real me. The spirit of me is the real me and I pray that I see past the flesh of others and see them as an extension of the Great Spirit. The real me is an eternal great spiritual being and the laws of the Spiritual Universe override the laws of the physical universe. What can separate us from the LOVE of God, that same LOVE that resides in Jesus Christ? The same LOVE (Spirit) that performed miracles? Nothing. Right now, if you are hurting, if your loved one is sick, if you are facing financial difficulties, if you are hungry, if you are homeless, if you are facing a disease yourself, if you are being bullied, if you are being threatened, if you feel you have to perform to be lovable or that your beauty makes you worthy, if you are feeling worthless or guilty over something you did or didn’t do, accept my “spiritual” hug and know this…you are loved. You are accepted. You are valuable beyond all words to describe and you are a beautiful spiritual being. Don’t let the lies of this world darken you to the truth of who you are, of what you are. Believe that you are an extension of Almighty Love, because you are. The Great Spirit of Love holds nothing against you…nothing. We are enough because of who we are. We just have to know who we are so we can believe it to be true.