Follow by Email

Monday, April 29, 2013


Living in the tropics where days do not shorten and lengthen as much as they do in more temperate latitudes, I have come to rely on the rhythms of the sun to measure my day.  If I wake up and the sun is above the trees, I know I’ve overslept.  But if the sky is just beginning to brighten, then I know I have time to get ready for the day without rushing. 
Sunrise in my back yard.  Yeah, it's a hardship assignment here.

The other night we ate dinner with friends at a restaurant, watching storm clouds approach the northern shore of the island.  Their dark, heavy appearance made us willing to hurry through our dinner and get back into the car, to get home so we could be safe.  We knew that the clouds would bring only rain, not high winds, but the foreboding nature of the clouds was enough to make us concerned.  We had no care to stay and experience the coming rains, as announced by the clouds.  So, we hurried back to enjoy the storm from the safety of our little home, turning on electrical lights to fend off the darkness of the clouds and rain.  As I sat and pondered in our home, some very loosely connected thoughts came to me:

1.  I have heard darkness defined as “the absence of light”.  That definition is used in black and white photography, but I also see it as a metaphor for my life.  The light of knowledge, the light of truth, the light of understanding – my purpose is to seek for light, and then use it to guide my decisions.  I know the standard of light - the quality of light I want to develop in myself.  I must guard myself against absenting myself from the light, and make my choices based upon the quality of light each alternative will provide.  

The other day I was working with some of the leaders of the boys' dorm, and we talked about the word "praiseworthy."  We talked about making decisions based on the praiseworthiness of each choice - which of two good things would you rather be congratulated on?  Which of two (or more) good things would you want your parents, or your leaders, or the Savior, to see you doing?  That is the praiseworthy test.  

One teacher doing a presentation in one of the
classes I teach after school.
2.  The light of education has been easy for me to seek. I have a deep love for the light of learning.  I appreciate the new understandings I gain when I search, and for the new understandings I can impart to others as I teach.  As I work with teachers here in Tonga, I love to watch the light in their faces as they master a new skill, or comprehend a new concept.  But there is so much more for them, and me, to learn.  May we have enough light to understand how to accomplish our worthy goals.

My "tall sister" and her daughter - I am the short sister!
3.  Light is within us all.  I need to remember that.  As I work together with others, I need to remember to bask in the light of others, and absorb the light of understanding - exemplified by the woman in this photo, who asks me almost
as many questions as I ask of her;  the light of patience, exemplified by a teacher who sat there with me for eight hours while we tried to get the computer to cooperate (eight hours - seriously????); the light of love, exemplified by Lehua (at lower left), one of the dorm girls who I have been blessed to know.  When I allow myself time to absorb light from others, I can do more than reflect the light of others – I can become a stronger source of light for others. 

Whether I seek physical sunlight, or the light of education, or the light of love and understanding, or even the light of Jesus Christ, the benefits are the same: increased happiness and capacity.  And isn’t that what we all want in life?

1 comment:

  1. Now I see what makes you a great teacher, Bea--you're a great learner! Okay, now I'm catching on. Thank you for another great, and very important lesson.