She’s so little.
‘Petite’ a stranger called her.
She has just learned to walk and while she’s already become quite proficient and doesn’t at all need my help, still I extend way down to her my hand and she, reaching up, will grasp one finger of mine in her little grip, and off we’ll go.
Sometimes, as I sit at my desk, she’ll tug at my knee, let alone my heart, and taking her up in my arms -which is the routine most every morning and most every night – I’ll sing, quite off key but she doesn’t seem to mind – and up will go her little hand and that tiny index finger will go round and round etching an imaginary arc through the air.
This little light of mine has brought such joy to our family.
And to think she, this little light, came to us out of such darkness, from such grief and sadness.
Such are little lights.
I never cease to get emotional as one by one candles are lit as the community comes together, many familiar faces and others total strangers, but one by one each stepping forward from out of the darkness to light their candle remembering someone who, as is often the occasion, had met some untimely end.
No one, at least I don’t, likely remembers what was said there.
But we remember we came, standing together in sadness.
The same thing happens at a church service on Christmas Eve.
There’s just something about a little candle, a tiny flame, and the silent wonder looking about as others join in.
If only for a flickering moment.
And I’m not alone in this, this symbolism of shared pain but united hope.
When Harry Dixon Loes put pen to paper, composing during The Roaring Twenties the lyrics and melody of the quiet little song “This Little Light of Mine”, it was for children he wrote.
However, “This Little Light of Mine” was one of the anthems that would inspire millions, fueling the movement of Civil Rights in the 1950s and 1960s, providing “unity in the face of adversity, breaking the darkness.”
Six days following the four horrific terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, the Late Show with David Letterman would again be broadcast having been off the air for those several nights since the events of 9-11.
Odetta Holmes, often referred to as “The Voice of the Civil Rights movement”, together with the Boys Choir of Harlem sang that night on Letterman’s show.
The song was “This Little Light of Mine.”
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine over the whole world, I’m gonna let it shine.”
We’re there America.
Rise and Shine.