At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. – Albert Schweitzer
What does that mean?
This is another quote which has been shortened for twitter. A more complete version of the quote is: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
To me, this quote is about the people who have helped us out of the darkness, out of hopelessness. It is about those who have found us when we had lost our way, and guided us back to the light. It is about them having helped us rekindle our light.
This light isn’t specified, but I believe it applies to all the different aspects of ourself. From beliefs to courage, from hope to love, from certainty to faith, we can lose the light. It truly is a dark and dismal place to be, in the dark.
However, this quote isn’t all gloom and doom. It reminds us that there are people out there who can and are willing to help. And it implores us to show our gratitude to those who have helped us back on the path and relit our light.
Why is helping others relight their light important?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there any number of times. From the breakup of my first relationship to my first divorce, from my first time being fired to my bankruptcy, I’ve ended up in some very dark places with my light completely out.
However, in each and every time, there has been someone to help me find my way, and to relight my light. They took their own time, and many others may have passed my way, but I didn’t notice them as I was unready to receive them and their gift.
What I hope you can see is how precious this gift is to others. Perhaps you have even been the recipient of this gift in your lifetime. Remember what it felt like to you, and imagine what it would have been like without others to help you. You can be that helper to others, the question is will you do it?
Where can I apply this in my life?
Sometimes, on rare occasions, you can actually do this for yourself. However, most of the time it takes outside intervention. While it is usually a friend or family member, sometimes the person who relights your light is a complete stranger.
In any case, the quote urges us, as the recipient, to show our gratitude towards those who help us. Take a moment to consider how you have treated those who have “lighted the flame within” for you. How can you show your gratitude to them now?
Now let’s look outside ourselves, and consider what we can do to help others who may have lost their way, those who are without light and are in need. Have you ever seen someone who looked lost, not like they couldn’t find the grocery store, but lost inside?
It’s a fairly distinctive look, a person who has lost the spark, or who has lost their light. That person has given up on some significant portion of their life. The question is what can we do to help? The simple answer is we can try, we can put forth some effort. But the reality is they must put some effort in as well, or nothing will come of it, right?
That is what I meant when I described some of my less illuminated times, when I said that I might not have noticed some of the attempts, as I was unready to receive their gift. So sometimes, our best efforts will be for naught, if they are unready or unwilling.
However, I do not believe that such a possible outcome absolves us of our duty to our fellow humans. That’s like saying you shouldn’t try because you might fail. Even with my pitiful record at dating, I still tried. And this is, in my opinion, a bit more important than just getting a date.
Even if all you do is get their attention, and get them thinking about trying to find their light again, you have done a great thing for them. Sometimes, with proper motivation, they can fight their way back. Other times, it leaves them receptive to the next person who tries to help them.
How does one help someone who has lost their light? That would depend on the person, your existing relationship, and your interpersonal skills. If you notice a friend seems particularly withdrawn, you can talk to them. Starting with general topics and then try to get to what is troubling them.
With a stranger, establishing communication may be much more difficult, but at least stop for a moment and say “Hi!” to them. How you proceed from there is up to you, but I would hope you could manage to help them, if only just a tiny little bit.
Whether you are the benefactor or beneficiary in this quote, there are most definitely reasons for celebration. Both parties should feel good, and be grateful for having helped, or for having been helped. We won’t be able to reach everyone, but we will reach no one if we don’t at least do our part.
From: Twitter, @2thank
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/albertschw402282.html
Photo by adamentmeat
Happy Birthday to Albert Schweitzer, born 14 January, 1875.