The Careless Candle

BY REV. JOHN E. WOOD (1910-1980)

A candle is a careless thing, God wot. See how it is always
stretching up and reaching out.
It gives its substance without murmur or
complaint to the
flame that is consuming it. It doesn’t even seem to care
into what corner the flame flings its light; whether the
corner is clean or dirty, pretty or ugly, far or near, high

or low, deserving or forgotten, useful or neglected.
Apparently, too, it doesn’t care to whom it sends its warmth;
whether to the outer chill, a lonely heart, a child’s
delight, a bore or a lout.
A candle that tries to conserve its
substance is poor company
on a dark night. It was pleasant to look at in the day time.
It was slender, smoothly appealing. But any candle that does
not give itself away is a disappointment in the deepening
shadows of a long evening. Some friends are like that. Good
fun in days of play, poor company in the hours of dusk and trouble.

A candle must give itself away. In the giving, the spending,
the spreading, the sending, it finds itself.

candlesPublished by Skinner House in To Meet the Asking Years, the 1984 UUA Meditation Manual. Originally published 1952, in Spiritual Embers, the Universalist Church of America Lenten Manual.

Comments are closed.