Let your light shine!

New Year's 2013

Happy 2013!

We used to sing a song in Sunday School, when I was a kid, “This little light of mine.”  The words are very simple and we had hand gestures to go with them: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.  (repeated 3x) Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…

The end of one year and the beginning of another always serves as a time of reflection for me. Look back, look ahead, evaluate the good and the bad and figure out the next steps.  2012 was not an easy one for me or for many of my friends.  So many of us are struggling financially and then one after another seems to get struck down with some bizarre health issue.  My tendency is to curl in and keep to my own company when things are tough, something that I feel I need to work on.  Although I have an active community online, I have made very little effort to reach out and connect with my neighbors right here where I live this past year.  So, if I have a New Year’s resolution, it is to let my light shine!  And, if people are going to see it, I need to move it around a bit more!

1964 Rachel londrina 2nd birthday

My light shining on my second birthday.  Loanda, Brazil, 1964.

All of us are given talents and gifts that are uniquely our own.  A friend of mine asked me a few years ago if I had a fear of success.  (We were talking about this long struggle that I have had to make it financially.)  I really don’t think so.  I would love to see TAFA and the other projects that I work with take off and fly, reaching their full potential.  We measure success in many ways and one of them is to find profitability.  Money is not the answer, but it sure can ease some of life’s pressures.  More important, in my book, is the quality of our relationships and work.  I feel blessed that I love what I do and that I have passion about my direction.  Finally, at the core of it all, is my belief that my light shines because of God’s grace.  This faith allows me to take the next blind step into the future, to be open to the risks, to the unknown, to whatever lies ahead.

These three things, entrepreneurship, community and faith, make me a part of a large and diverse community.  We come from different backgrounds and belief systems.  I thrive in this diversity and ecumenism.  I learn and am inspired by the Other.  Wherever we are, we each make choices daily and in 2013, my wish for us all is to always choose Light over Darkness.  Light is not the easy road as it is one of revelation, of exposure, and of openness.  It is also one of vision and knowledge.  The world can be a dark, brutal place, but it gives me great comfort to know that there is light shining all over the world, light that pushes that darkness away.

The videos below are various interpretations of “This Little Light of Mine”.  I hope that you watch them all and find inspiration that in our unique interpretations of light, we do have a common message and language.

This first one sets the tone for what I am trying to say.  Odetta gives a powerful message before she sings.  If you only watch one of the videos, choose this one.

Black gospel naturally leads us to Mother Africa, what Victorians referred to as the “Dark Continent”.  Who can inspire us more than the light that shines from Soweto?  Africa has had more than its share of pain and hardship, yet it persists in a determined voice of hope, joy and love, an example for all of us:

Our individual lights come together as community:

That light is strongest in children, so full of the excitement in what life has to offer them…

You don’t need a lot of tools, equipment or big spotlights to make that light shine.  Just pure enjoyment of the moment.

That light has been around for a long time.  It’s nothing new.  We have it because it was passed on to us by those who came before us.

This was a small taste of  place, rhythm, culture and time.

Wherever you are, whatever your traditions and gifts, let you light shine!

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5 responses to “Let your light shine!”

  1. Margaret says:

    Oh thanks Rachel! I just had myself a party singing along with every one of these versions. What a wonderful reminder of the joy that comes along with letting one’s light shine. I haven’t had much discipline in developing a prayer practice that sticks — maybe I will just try to sing this song every morning and see how that works.

    • Rayela says:

      Oh, good! I’m glad you liked it! I had a great time going through the videos to find the “right” ones. There were a couple of Odetta singing the song live that were great, too, but that intro of hers is so powerful that I just had to use that one. I have never learned how to pray or meditate… I mean, I can say words that sound convincing as a prayer, but the closest I have ever come to the experience of prayer as described by serious practitioners has been when I am deep into making an art piece. Doing that with some gospel in the background transports me. I guess we each have to find the places where we can fly in the spirit, eh?

  2. Beautiful post, Rachel… thank you for all your hard work & consent positive approach to life.. it’s such a pleasure knowing you.. 2012 has been a difficult year but, in my case, nothing that can’t be turned around… Happy New Year to you & yours, I wish you all the very best for 2013

  3. Helen says:

    Thanks, Rachel! Hope 2013 is a good year for relationship building around you. I think we all tend to stay to ourselves in our homes here in the USA.

    Love,

    Helen

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