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Lori Gard Headshot

Why the Light in the Gable Matters to Me

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The lights are on again tonight. They burn, soft glowing light inside our house, as is the usual way, of course. When darkness comes, lamps are lit. But our lights -- they are different. They speak of comfort, of home. When the lights come alive, something happens here inside our home. It becomes a cocoon -- a shelter within from the darkness without. And it feels as if we are the only six alive sometimes -- when the lights come on.

The one in the kitchen -- a candle: it flickers gently on the warming oven of the old Enterprise. As I click away, the candelabra above me, minus the light bulb which blew, it casts its feeble light upon my screen. More light spilling out the window onto the veranda where my black wicker table and chair sit, just below the ledge. Upstairs, the hallway is wrapped in the warm glow from one solitary brass lamp. A wedding gift that is still 'seeing the light' after all these years. It stands crookedly- the neck wobbly from too many little hands turning it on and off. And yet, the light is still on. Still glowing a beam of light out into the velvety-blackness of the night-time sky.

The lights are on in our house tonight. As is our family custom- our ritual and our practice.

The one in the gable window- where the window seat spreads from wall-to-wall: that one shines out into the darkness below. And far beyond. From the road, one might observe in passing its golden luminescence. A beacon in the darkness. A symbol of hope. Of love and family and timeless preservation of all that is beautiful and good. It's only a simple light. But really, it is not.

It's funny how a simple light matters so much. Someone once told me that our upstairs lamp which shines from the gable is a source of comfort for them when they pass by on dark evenings. It is a constant- for the light is always on. Always shining. A faithful testament to the people who reside within.

And just the other day, another friend remarked, "Drove by the other night and saw all the lights on in your house and thought to myself how wonderful it is to know that a family of six are inside that home."

How wonderful indeed. And how rare- what with the busy, chaotic lives we lead. That we are all here- safe and sound from another day is a blessing. Secure inside our home- we six. We are together and we are here in the home where the lights are always on.

A light- it is a symbol. And if there is one thing I think the light might symbolize in this house- it would be security. Refuge. Sanctuary from the darkness that wraps itself around all that is without. For within, there is light. And in that light, there is love.

Our children are getting older. The lights stay on later into the night than they did in times past. But still they shine- even through the passage of time, they tell a story.

The lights are on inside our house tonight. And may they always be so. May they always burn bright, these beacons of light.