Let the Light Enter
By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper 1825–1911
The Dying Words of Goethe
“Light! more light! the shadows deepen,
And my life is ebbing low,
Throw the windows widely open:
Light! more light! before I go.
“Softly let the balmy sunshine
Play around my dying bed,
E’er the dimly lighted valley
I with lonely feet must tread.
“Light! more light! for Death is weaving
Shadows ‘round my waning sight,
And I fain would gaze upon him
Through a stream of earthly light.”
Not for greater gifts of genius;
Not for thoughts more grandly bright,
All the dying poet whispers
Is a prayer for light, more light.
Heeds he not the gathered laurels,
Fading slowly from his sight;
All the poet’s aspirations
Centre in that prayer for light.
Gracious Saviour, when life’s day-dreams
Melt and vanish from the sight,
May our dim and longing vision
Then be blessed with light, more light.
This morning, I forgot that I am trying not to be a "Do as I say, not as I do" kind of a parent. This morning, I naggingly said a whole bunch of unfiltered things, and didn't do any great example setting. It's just about the hardest thing in the world I think: to accept (and remember) that human beings (including the ones I birthed) aren't computers I can reprogram. Because that would be easier, wouldn't it? Then I'd be a computer too and emotions, pride, they couldn't throw me.
What am I afraid of? That they'll grow up to struggle with laziness, anger, doubt, vanity, materialism? Of the ridiculous decisions they're bound to make (you know, because they didn't heed my warnings)? That self-centeredness will inhibit their ability to serve others without strings attached?
Yes, yes that's it!
So hows about I save myself some time and energy by getting real here? All that stuff I fear? It's Going. To. Happen… no matter what. And those expectations I have for my children? Well they're downright hypocritical. I've had three and some decades to overcome those very same vices and still they linger on my person like sticky, prickly burrs.
There are natural consequences and then there are judgmental, merciless, pride-driven accusations…or even worse, summarizations born of lofty standards even I, as their adult mother, could never live up to. It's the latter I better get serious about squelching lest I communicate by my actions something far different than I believe in my heart, with all my heart, about grace and forgiveness.
I need to break this out again today by Elder Porphyrios, because I've been talk, talk, talking too much:
Pray and then speak. That’s what to do with your children. If you are constantly lecturing them, you’ll become tiresome and when they grow up they’ll feel a kind of oppression. Prefer prayer and speak to them through prayer. Speak to God and God will speak to their hearts. That is, you shouldn’t give guidance to your children with a voice that they hear with their ears. You may do this too, but above all you should speak to God about your children. Say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, give Your light to my children. I entrust them to You. You gave them to me, but I am weak and unable to guide them, so, please, illuminate them…It is not sufficient for the parents to be devout. They mustn’t oppress the children to make them good by force. We may repel our children from Christ when we pursue the things of our religion with egotism.
You've really gotta dig down deep, and gird yourself with prayer, in order to achieve love that is patient, kind, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs – love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes and perseveres without expecting anything back (like gratitude for your efforts or a conversion to your point of view) in return. Oh but how much better I sleep at night when I bite my tongue, and meet exasperation armed with the dedication to remain a calm and healing presence!
Let the Light enter me and illumine the darkened reasonings standing between myself and long-suffering loving-kindness. May Light, only Light, flood my soul and this home.