When You’re Not Sure You’re Making Any Difference

When You're Not Sure You're Making Any Difference by Pearl Allard - Look Up Sometimes

When You're Not Sure You're Making Any Difference by Pearl Allard - Look Up Sometimes

I thought it’d be a quick job. I was trying to rig a nightlight for our seven-year-old son, Xavier, in a cabin in Kentucky. Our family spent spring break near Mammoth Caves last year. We’d enjoyed the day exploring, were happily weary, and preparing for bed.

Problem was, I was used to sleeping in a dark room. In our camping-like arrangement with the beds clustered on one side of the cabin, all the options I tried felt as bright as noonday. Xavier wasn’t bothered with the brightness, but I was.

The other side of the cabin comprised a tiny kitchenette, bathroom, and coat closet. I turned the bathroom light on. Too bright. Mostly closed the door? Still too bright. I flipped the switch in the loft. Definitely too bright. Kitchen light? Forget it.

The bedside lamp. Surely its soft light hid behind the bathroom door would be dim enough. It was better, but the cord was a tripping hazard. I was not so happily weary anymore and made a mental note to remember to pack a nightlight on our next trip.

My engineer-husband, Paul, solved the dilemma by plugging the light in the bathroom’s outlet, running the cord along the wall, under the door, and placing the light in the closet with the door mostly shut. Not too bright, no cord hazard, just right.

I marveled something so small, which I’d considered soft light, shone with such intensity it needed relocating to remoter darkness.

I thought back to the ranger’s demonstration inside Mammoth Caves. Our trek had been surprisingly well-lit, but at one point the ranger alerted us he was going to turn off the lights. In the temporary darkness, it wasn’t hard to imagine hours and days like that could drive a person mad.

After our eyes adjusted, the ranger struck a lighter. Though un-joined by other lights, the tiny flame’s full ability blazed, unafraid. If doubt flickered, it burned past it. It knew its purpose and place. If necessary, though not as comfortable as we’d previously experienced, the tiny flame would have been enough to guide our entire group back to the light of day.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

10 thoughts on “When You’re Not Sure You’re Making Any Difference

  1. Great reminders of the power of light! As I type this we are finishing up with a snow storm here and one thing I love about the snow (being that my condo faces the north so there is very little sunlight)–is it adds light to my interior space in a profound way. In the case of this type of ‘light’ just a couple of inches would suffice but God provided plenty more 🙂

    1. Riley, you made me laugh! A few inches is all I need too. I love that you shared about the light reflecting off snow. And truly, I think reflections of the Light are what we’re meant to be. (Some days I’m more dirt than snow, but hey, you know. Thank God for His grace!)

  2. Pearl, your story reminds me too, that it only takes one small light to guide others and to bring comfort.

    It also makes me think of that song, “This Little Light of Mine!”
    I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

    Here’s to a light-filled day!

    1. Michelle, absolutely. I love your thoughts and the song. 🙂 Apologies for not seeing your comment til now. Technical issues with a new system. I’m behind on reading your series but I love that each title starts with refraining from one thing and embracing another! Looking up with you, friend!

    1. Sharon, thanks for your kind words. I apologize for not seeing your comment sooner. I’ve had a terrible time implementing a new comment system and apparently still have bugs to work out. Have a blessed week!

  3. Something so small shone with such intensity…what a great reminder of how each of us, in our own small way, can make a huge difference when we focus our effort. Beautiful post!

    1. Diane, thank you, sweet friend! You make a difference, gifting the world with humor and perspective. And I love how you threw in the word focus — my word for the year! (Maybe my life?) Appreciate your added insight!

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