Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Shining light in to lives January 7, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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In this photo, you can see the roofline of our garage. Randy strung three strands of light over the patio, which is between our garage and house. A wooded hillside borders our yard.

I CRAVE LIGHT, especially now, in the deep of winter, in the darkness of these difficult days.

When I awaken in the dark of a January morning here in southeastern Minnesota, I switch on lamps, flick on light switches, filling the house with artificial light. And then, as the sun emerges, I throw open window coverings to reveal grey skies or sometimes brilliant sunshine.

In the evening, when black once again descends, I reverse the routine—close the blinds and curtains, switch lamps and lights back on. I need light flooding the house. To cook. To read. As I’ve aged, my vision has worsened. Some evenings my tired eyes cross to double vision, making reading difficult or impossible. I underwent surgery at age four to correct that problem. But now it’s resurfacing along with cataracts.

Thanks, though, to the kindness of Ruth, a blogger friend from Pittsburgh, I’m finding evening reading easier. She gifted me with a flexible OttLite floor lamp that now floods my reading space with bright light. It’s helped. A lot. What a dear and thoughtful Christmas gift from a friend I’ve never even met.

Light, whether shone through kindness or shone from an actual physical source, is a gift.

Beauty in light against background winter trees.

A few days ago, Randy gave me the gift of light by stringing white Christmas lights across our patio. He pulled the lights from storage as we packed away holiday decorations. Now, when darkness overtakes daylight as I prepare supper, I can look out the kitchen window to those festive lights. They bring me joy—in their brightness and in the love that motivated Randy to string them there.

Kindness shines in loving acts like those of Randy and Ruth. And that of our eldest daughter, who each Christmas gifts us with a personalized calendar featuring photos of our dear, darling grandchildren. Seeing their sweet faces in those images brightens my days. It’s the perfect gift. Full of love and joy and light.

As darkness descends, the lights flood our patio with a festive glow.

Likewise, words also shine light. Kind words. Encouraging words. Uplifting words. Whether written in a comment on this blog, emailed or spoken, thoughtful and appreciative messages always bring me joy. I am grateful. Thank you for shining light into my life.

TELL ME: How has someone shone light into your life? I’d like to hear your stories. And I challenge you, today, to shine light into someone’s life and to continue that kindness in a world in dire need of light.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


16 Responses to “Shining light in to lives”

  1. We all need a bit more light in these dire difficult times.

  2. Ruth Says:

    Awww. That is so sweet of you, Audrey. I love Randy’s lights. We do need light in our lives and you definitely bring light to the blogosphere.

  3. valeriebollinger Says:

    This is a great post. I like that Randy put lights up in your back to brighten the long winter nights.
    We have some on our deck too.
    It’s good to be reminded to be a light to others and find ways to do that. Thanks Audrey.

  4. ericastaab Says:

    I just posted this on my FB page from an author I adore…
    Thank you for sharing your light ☺

    A blessing for you on this Epiphany Day, with such gratitude—more than ever, if that’s even possible—for the ways you carry the light.
    Blessed are you
    who bear the light
    in unbearable times,
    who testify
    to its endurance
    amid the unendurable,
    who bear witness
    to its persistence
    when everything seems
    in shadow
    and grief.
    Blessed are you
    in whom
    the light lives,
    in whom
    the brightness blazes—
    your heart
    a chapel,
    an altar where
    in the deepest night
    can be seen
    the fire that
    shines forth in you
    in unaccountable faith,
    in stubborn hope,
    in love that illumines
    every broken thing
    it finds.
    —Jan Richardson
    from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons
    Image: “An Ancient Light”
    © janrichardsonimages.com
    (And if you haven’t seen the new retreat for Women’s Christmas, which some folks celebrate on Epiphany Day: https://sanctuaryofwomen.com/womenschristmas.html. You can download it as a PDF at no cost.)

  5. Yes to kindness and light! I have two beautiful blessings in my life that help me be a healthier whole being and they truly care about me as a person not just a customer. One recently reach out to me to say it is okay to let us know if something is not working for me. I really try to see the positive and not complain. It was nice to hear from them that constructive feedback is good and not necessarily complaining. It really put it in another light/perspective for me. That is caring and supporting 🙂 Great Post – Need the Reminder too! Happy Day – Enjoy

    • I like that approach of “constructive feedback.” I figure if you’re going to complain, then you better have a suggestion/idea/whatever to fix/improve the situation. I don’t always follow my own advice. But I try.

  6. Missy’s Crafty Mess Says:

    After yesterday… we all need a bright light. As tough as a year as 2020 was for many people. It was in many ways one of my best years. The peace & grounding faith I have found by joining a daily Bible reading after my Grandfather passed is indescribable! Not to say that I didn’t have faith before but something is different. It’s peaceful!

    • I am so thankful for that blessing of peace found in your faith and daily Bible readings. I, too, rely on my faith to carry me through the challenges of life. And I, too, read from the Bible daily, beginning right away in the morning, to put my mind in the right place. Thank you for your comment on the importance of your faith.

  7. Sandra Van Erp Says:

    Best thing the “decor” world did was to legitimize light everywhere all the time…simple strands or elaborate displays. Not sure if we have patio dining fad to thank for that, but each time I look at my folks depression pink glass vase with reliefs lit up or my dark patio Christmas tree that stays out until March, I give thanks. In the summer months, it’s the bushes. MN Jan-March is the worst. And without Lent and Easter music to work on….but I just thank God no one has bombed this country. And without covid, not so sure. (Love that lamp, going shopping….!)

    • It’s wonderful to hear from you, Sandy, and to get your thoughts on light. In the cold dark of a Minnesota winter, light helps. Randy just pulled a timer out of storage for our patio lights. No more going outdoors in the cold to switch them on and off. Yeah!

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