Some years ago, my friend Jessica gave me a little bundle of candles tied together with a cloth ribbon. I loved them because they were from her and because it felt comforting to look at them there, ready to give me light whenever I may need. I haven’t burned them in all these years. They have had more value to me sitting pretty in the apothecary jar I keep them in than they would have if burnt.
But last night a powerful storm blew in. It began roaring just outside the up-stairs window on the other side of my headboard at about 4 a.m. The rain pounded and pulsed. I felt my core shake. This wasn’t just any storm. It was fierce. I simply could not stay in bed. Something in me called me downstairs.
In fact, the entire house woke up simultaneously. And like children we found our way to the center of the house to sit in the dark together. We risked opening the back door long enough to offer the cats their special whistle-call to see if any of them might brave the cold, wet, and wind to be with us.
First came Rollie-Pollie. I heard his squeaky cry through the paddling of raindrops on the deck and before I knew it, he was doing the Scoobie Doo run-in-place dance across the kitchen floor into the paws of his mother, one of the in-door cats. One more cat, Gypsy Jubilee, peaked out of the garage, looked at me for the all-clear and then made the leap to safety. We were all together. One cat for each of the 4 room mates.
We all settled in, listening to the pounding of hail on the roof, looking into one another’s sleepy eyes between flashes of light through the window, and talking of the possibility of tornadoes. And I thought to myself….this moment feels dark.
The apothecary jar shown with a flash of lightening from across the room. And Jessica’s candles promised to provide a bit of medicine for what ailed me in that storm.
Jessica moved away…goodness, it must be coming up on a year soon. We, of course, have the web to keep us close…and cell phones….and lots of bits of technology. But there was something about the candles that brought her closer to me than I have had her in all the time she has been gone. Friendship can light up any dark place and make the heart feel warm…and secure. That is what Jessica’s friendship has been for me. And although this storm was the kind you can see in the physical world, it is not the first time Jes has been the light for me in a storm. And probably won’t be the last.