Festive lights among makeshift memorials reveal the paradox of how joy and grief coexist along our human journey. Fourteen years ago today, the juxtaposition of emergency flashing lights with the holiday decorations outside Von Maur stunned Omaha. No community is immune from tragedy, revealing the universal temptation to do anything to bypass heartbreak. Learning to light a candle in the darkest times symbolizes our humanity.
Tomorrow, many will recall the final story of the Hanukkah narrative, reminding generations of the courage within to shine and withstand the tremendous shadows that threaten our inner light. The miraculous theme of Hanukkah echoes in our time—an Eternal Source exists and provides unending energy to our soul. We are internally wired to resist the collective consciousness of negativity and inequality and instead harness loving energy of encouragement to spark candles of hope in the darkest moments.
We are all equipped to light the candle of Love, Joy, Peace, Forgiveness, and Acceptance in the shadow of hate, depression, disorder, retribution, and prejudice. As holiday decorations hearten storefronts and city streets, know that within you the same joy illuminates to inspire the life of another. Quite possibly you will encounter someone close to abandoning faith in humanity and yearning for a display of love. You have the power to reconnect them to their inner light! Offer a kind word, a gesture of appreciation, gratitude for their birth, a welcoming smile. When overwhelmed by sorrow, remember that without darkness light is like a star during the midday—obscured. Within you is a cosmic force that can brighten the darkest of souls. Trust the source of your being. Let your light shine."