I remember when my sister, Laura, was born though I was only three and a half years old. It was a very stressful time for my family. Laura had some problems and the doctors were not sure if she was going to make it. She was baby number four, Billy was 17 months old and my twin sister and I were the eldest. In the same hospital, at the same time, my grandmother, Mamaw, was dying of leukemia. My parents brought Laura in to meet her Mamaw and to say good-bye before she passed away.
As dad would tell the story, Mamaw took Laura, held her in her arms, patted her, and gave her back to them saying, “She’s going to be just fine!”
That night, Laura’s appetite changed and she began to eat well for the first time. She got stronger and went home and was fine. Dad said it was a miracle. And he said that Mamaw was a saint.
Dad was not one to talk about God or saints and he didn’t tell this story often. But his witness spoke to me powerfully. His face, solemn with awe, shined knowing that God had done this. His voice carried deep respect for my holy grandmother. The faith it inspired in him was a seed of faith for me. It spoke louder than all the Sunday Masses I sat through as a kid. As I grew up, it was comfort when I needed something outside of the immediate trouble I was in to believe that God cared and was watching.
This story told me, in a special way, that God loved our family and God was in our family.
This is what Lampstands is about.
We all have stories. Maybe we only have one precious story with little opportunity to share it. Perhaps we have dozens of stories. Once we examine our lives in the light of our ‘God encounters’, we suddenly get a picture that tells more than we realized.
We do not want our stories to be lost or extinguished with time. We want them to be heard and spread. We are the only ones who can tell these stories that remind us all that God is good, is with us, and loves us.
We are the lampstands.
“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.” – Luke 11:33