“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).
I learned a lot of basic things from my dad while growing up, including how to bait a hook and fish with a cane pole, how to drive on slippery, snowy roads, and how to press a straight crease on a shirt sleeve. One of the most significant lessons my dad taught me was how to hold a flashlight.
Go ahead, chuckle. I know. “How hard could it be to just hold a flashlight?” You see, I usually wanted to help, but I couldn’t do much more than keep him company and try not to get underfoot. So, when called upon to “hold the light,” I was eager to prove myself. It was my time to shine. But, it’s harder than it looks.
There is an art to being an accomplished holder of the light. Here are seven skills to master.
1 Shine the light on the work, not in his eyes. (He has to see what he’s fixing, not me.)
2 Shine the light from the best angle to minimize shadows. (He needs to have a clear view of the problem. The best illumination often comes from a different perspective than my own.)
3 Hold the light steady, even when your arm gets cramped. (The light I bring to a situation needs to be clear and consistent, not influenced by frustration or fatigue.)
4 Be ready to change your angle every time he changes his. (I must be flexible in my stance without shifting or diminishing the light itself. The light must always illuminate the issue so the solution can be applied quickly and accurately.)
5 Stay out of his way, but don’t be afraid to get in close. (Give him as much space to work as possible. Don’t crowd in just to see what he’s doing. You’re not fixing the problem, he is.)
6 Be available when he needs you. (It could be for a few seconds now and nothing for an hour. Then an eternity on your tiptoes with your eyes squinting in the reflection.)
7 Take care of the flashlight. (In your boredom while waiting to be needed, don’t waste the batteries and lose the light.)
You see, in a larger sense he was teaching me compassion, as I learned to see a situation from another person’s perspective, and humility since my perception of a situation isn’t necessarily the most critical one. He taught me how to love unconditionally and serve generously, to be instant in season and out, and to persevere until the job gets done.
Is it your time to shine? Do you have the opportunity to serve as a light bearer while someone else gets the recognition for solving a problem or mending a rift? If so, rejoice. It’s your turn to shine. That’s how God gets the glory!
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 KJV).
~ Peggy Lundy