My younger sister has always been frightened of things. Nothing in any way unusual, just the normal childhood fears. Thunder, lightning, fireworks, wasps, spiders, creepy crawlies in general and snakes. As she's grown the list has lengthened to include heights and anything that might endanger her children. She is still the bravest person I've ever known, a fierce lioness in the protection of her cubs, but with the gentlest of natures in loving and nurturing them.
When we were small Kath really hated thunder storms, and the flash of lightning in particular. For some reason nearly all of my childhood memories of these storms are of the ones that happened at night time. Perhaps that's because at the first sign of distant rumbling she would scoot across our bedroom and crawl under the blankets with me. I would then turn on my little torch flashlight for her to see. Already frightened by storm sounds the dark spooked her, so we'd hunker down and watch the bulb fiz and crackle in the night. Small low voltage light bulbs did that sort of thing back then.
Anyway, I would wait until I thought she'd dropped off to sleep before turning off the torch to save the batteries. Sometimes the click would re-awaken her because on some level she was attuned to this noise despite the background of crashes and rumbles. So I'd switch it back on, and wait her out again. However dim the remaining light was as the battery faded that little light never failed to bring some measure of comfort to her. I like to think my presence helped a bit as well though.
It's funny though isn't it? What light does in the darkness I mean. Even the tiniest candle flame can be seen in the night from miles away in clear conditions. Such is the power of light against the immensity of even the deepest darkness. In fact it is this contrast that makes light such a beacon in the gloom. Little wonder then that light is synonymous with hope. Where faith might falter or even fail, some small element of hope remains.
Earlier today I was writing to a dear friend of mine. Someone who keeps reminding me of the steadfastness of hope and friendship in hard times. I was trying to find some way of conveying to her where I am just now, which is in a far better place than even a few days ago. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, it's there ... and while it might still be some miles off, it's there. Hope is like that.