Our neighbor's porch light, a bright green, shines in the darkness in remembrance of a loved sibling who took his life,
another neighbor down the street is grieving for his wife.
We light our deck to support autism awareness, the bulb so old that most of the blue is gone.
Families struggle with pain, poverty, unemployment
mental illness, cancer, all manner of physical ailments and sorrows.
Parents display angel wings in honor of an infant lost to stillbirth or miscarriage.
Loneliness lurks behind closed doors, blinds drawn to encompass the isolation.
Fractured families, fractured hips, Alzheimer's, depression, or despair.
Children struggle at school, and others are lost to addiction and the hopelessness of returning to a life restored to normalcy. Hunger, abuse, neglect - the woes of the earth are here, no matter the size of our town's population.
Gold Star mothers mourn the loss of children who languished and died on foreign soil, their soldier's letters from home tied in ribbon and kept in a nightstand drawer.
Pink ribbons, yellow ribbons, red ones for AIDS, teal for ovarian cancer. Rubberized bracelets for disease, both invisible and overt.
Every illness has its assigned hue.
We need to show OUR true colors, and look for the camaraderie of others who have suffered the same fate.
Maybe, just maybe, if we all lit up the night sky, the colors of our maladies and disappointments would highlight that we all have heartbreak, hurt, and cares that keep us up at night. There'd be no reason to envy our neighbors and friends whose lives seem so charmed - because all of us have cracks and splintered parts. That's how the light gets out for all to see.
Instead, let us start with a smile to our neighbor, a friendly wave, a bit of small talk.
We may find that our compassion and caring for others would cause our own burdens to be a little easier to bear (as all shared burdens are)...and the night sky would be lit by an aura of understanding and hope.
Extend a hand, offer support. Display kindness. Don't judge - nobody's better than anyone else.
What color (or colors) would YOUR light(s) be?