Friday, June 26, 2009

On Light and the Sharing of It

"Ye are the light of the world..." Matthew 5:14

Can a beautiful and thought-provoking story be a source of light in and of itself? My answer is yes. I think you'll agree:

The class was over, and the teacher was one of my favorites, so I threw out a final, "brief" question: "Dr. Papaderos, what is the meaning of life?"

The expected laughter followed, and people stirred to go.

Papaderos held up his hand with such gravity that it stilled the room. He looked into my eyes for a long moment, then responded. "I will answer your question."

Taking his wallet out of his hip pocket, he fished around in its leather billfold for a moment before bringing out a small round mirror, the size of a quarter. Holding it up almost reverently, he began his story:

When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor. Our family lived in a remote village. On the road one day, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. It seems that a German motorcycle had been wrecked in that very place, leaving various bits of debris.

I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible. Disappointed, I decided to keep only the largest piece. This one. Taking great care, I scratched it on a stone until I made it round. Immediately, it became my favorite toy because of the reflections I could cast with it. I was fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never deep holes and narrow crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find.

As you can see, I kept the little mirror. In the growing up years that followed, I would often take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I began to realize that this was not just a child's game but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I grew to understand that I was neither the light itself nor the source of light. But I also knew that light was available, in the form of truth, understanding and knowledge, and that it would shine in the dark places only if I reflected it.

I am a fragment of a mirror whose design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with whatever I have been given, I can reflect light into the dark places of this world or even the black places in the hearts of men and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.

Holding his small mirror carefully, my teacher caught the bright rays of daylight streaming through the window and reflected them, first upon my face and then upon my hands, folded on the desk. Looking down, I saw the light.

Much of what I experienced in the way of information about Greek culture and history that summer is gone from memory. But in the wallet of my mind I carry a small, round mirror still.
- Author Unknown

"Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold, I am the light which ye shall hold up...that which ye have seen me do" (3 Nephi 18:24).


Momza said...

Beautiful. Perfect Post for me this day.

Thank you.

KC Mom said...

Wow. I want to be a little mirror too.
Thank you for sharing this.

em said...


karen said...

I love that story - it's a keeper. Something beautiful to remember at the start of each new day.

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