A Candle for Us

I was raised a southern evangelical protestant, but I was always entranced by the Catholic tradition of lighting a prayer candle.  The sight of a bank of candles, each representing a prayer, a person, was highly symbolic to me.  It seemed that the prayers grew stronger when they had the support of others holding them up, just as the light of a dozen candles was stronger than a single flame.  However, as a child, the ritual was always something forbidden, something foreign, something “good Christians” just did not do.  When I moved out of my parents’ house and gained a little perspective, I learned that candles were used in religious rituals the world over.  Lighting a candle and saying a prayer was something that I could do — it was no longer forbidden.  

When I joined sorority, the candle-lighting ceremony was again a highly symbolic, emotionally charged event.  Lighting a candle, passing it through the group, waiting for the good news of whatever had happened.  We lit candles to commemorate friendships, celebrate engagements, and announce pregnancies.  The candle represented the spirit of a single woman, surrounded and supported by friends who loved her. 

Between these two viewpoints, lighting a candle has both positive and negative connotations for me.  Candles are for celebration, for excitement and possibility and hope for the future.  But at the same time, they are the reminder that there is suffering and pain, and that as a community we should support those in need.

So I made a candle for us, the infertile community.

DSCF0014.jpg infertility candle picture by sharahblog

At first I thought I was going to make  it for myself.  An infertility candle, since I know that I might never have one to announce my pregnancy.  One to light when I pray, as a comfort when the world seems darkest.  But when I went to buy the flowers, I couldn’t get Mel’s Mother Earth’s Flower Shop out of my head.  The imagery of the infertile community as a sea of wildflowers, each individual and unique, directed my choices.  And when I got home, Manly asked who I was making it for.  My first thought: I’m making it for all of us.  I’m making it to celebrate pg and adoptions and births.  I’m making it to comfort after a loss, to soothe a wounded spirit, to provide support when the darkness closes in. 

When I get home tonight, I’m going to light the candle.  I’m going to say a prayer, for myself, for you individually if I know your circumstances, and for our community as a whole.  And from now on, the candle is for all of us.  If you want to celebrate, if you want to mourn, if you need support — let me know.  Comment, drop an email, put it in the Lost & Found newsletter; I’ll light the candle.  This is for me, and it’s for all you as well.


21 thoughts on “A Candle for Us

  1. That is gorgeous…and such a sweet thing for you to do. I would love to be a part of that group that you pray for when lighting the candle. In the meantime I will remember you during my hopes and prayers of winning this infertility battle…however that is done.

  2. So beautiful…what a great way to think of all of us out here in this journey–and for yourself as well. Thanks for letting me be a part of the people you remember–and you are definitely in my thoughts and prayers as well.

  3. That is really beautiful. I came by from mels. You are not alone in your bitterness. I struggle with a lot and hate what it turns me into. Hopefully one day we will all see the beauty in all of this.

  4. What a kind and generous person you are. What a truly caring and supportive gesture. I’m deeply touched that you’re willing to embrace us in this way, and comforted to know I’m part of a larger community of souls all looking to find and share peace. Thank you so much.

  5. That is really beautiful! Thank you so much for creating such a thing of beauty for those of us that are feeling like beauty is far from reality at this moment. Your words and the candle mean a great deal.

    May karma return your kindness and goodness to you many times over.

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