Lasha Morningstar

WE ARE ONE

November 3, 2014

Night comes sooner. Mornings later. Halloween is just past. That's usually when it's the first time we light a candle in the fall. Fat, juicy pumpkins are hollowed out, the seeds spread under the trees for the birds and then a jolly face carved in the front.

A thick white candle is lit, a few drops dripped down to the inside base to give needed support. The flame is blown out, and the candle is placed inside the grinning lantern.

At dusk, the candle is lit. (Wooden matches are safest.)

Now the ghosts and goblins know they are welcome to call out "trick or treat."

This is the night when the veil between the dead and living is lifted, and we share our feelings and thoughts with our ancestors. The candle flame seems to create a blanket of peace that comforts, creates security. It is one of the most precious times in the year for me.

Usually I only talk to my Gramma. In truth, she is the only one who ever cared for me. Out spill my secrets, my dreams, my tears. And I pray to O Immaculate Lady Undoer of Knots with her.

I am sure if I could hear Gramma talking to O Immaculate Lady, she would say "Such a job you have!"

Then there is Christmas. Candles, candles everywhere.

candle

As the dark comes earlier each day, candles flicker more in our lives. Sometimes it is to soften a dinner table. Often it is just to help one sit in a darkened room with a flickering candle and look up at the night sky. If it is dark enough, one can pick out the constellations. My favourite is Orion's belt. If a star shoots through the midnight sky, I make a wish as fast as possible.

But usually I just sit by the window with my dog, the candle flickering, and talk to God. With silence, interrupted by yelping police sirens or wails of fire engines, I sometimes hear what he is trying to tell me.

The bite of winter is nipping at the cracks under the door and the street people are fighting for their lives in the murderous cold. That is when the various outreach trucks roll down the icy streets handing out clothes, food, taking those who will go to shelters – if there is room.

Forecasters say this is going to be bone-chilling winter. So donations of candles, especially pillars, can give life-saving warmth through a night.

ROAD SAFETY

Talk to road-safety instructors, and they will tell you to keep candles and matches along with other winter safety gear in your car, no matter how far you are going.

Candles. Practical. Celebratory. Spiritual. So many uses.

For our brothers and sisters in the cold, donations to the various street agencies and Marian Centre can be life-saving. The best are the thick pillar candles. Their flame is strong, and they last the longest.

One of the best places to snaffle them up is at the fall bazaars in the rummage section. Sure, they might have been used a wee bit, but a person freezing in the brutal cold is not going to notice that.

Notice that we have talked about others. But what about yourself?

FOCUSING DURING PRAYER

I find a tall taper tucked in a candleholder and then lit, perhaps in a darkened room, is the most efficient way for me to pray. It allows me to concentrate. Not to worry about tears rolling down my cheeks. Talk out loud to My Sweet Lord, the angels, O Immaculate Lady Undoer of Knots (a bit of a hiccup there) and, when my heart is starting to shatter, I call out to Gramma.

When I concentrate on the flame, my thoughts don't dance away. I must face what is happening in my life and ask for help. That is my prayer.

(Lasha Morningstar lasha@wcr.ab.ca)