Let your light shine

Published 4:52 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My young voice joined the others as our small youth choir nervously broke the silence.

“It is better to light just one little candle than to stumble in the dark. Better far to light just one little candle all you need is a tiny spark. If we’d all say a prayer that the world would be free what a wonderful dawn of a new day we’d see. And if everyone lit just one little candle what a bright world it would be.”

One by one my choir mates and I relaxed and sang out. Our youthful minds didn’t realize fully what we sang as real darkness remained mostly beyond our scope. We had never dreamed of school shootings or terrorist attacks.

But darkness comes in many forms. My first experience with darkness in a high place dealt unfortunately with local law enforcement. My friends and I had been tooling around town just hanging out when I spotted a figure slumped in a ditch.

“Stop the car! I think there is a body over there!

The car was still rolling when I jumped out.

“It’s an old lady! Somebody help me!”

Soon the four of us stood over the disheveled old woman. She obviously needed help so we tugged and prodded until we had her deposited safely in the back seat of the car.

“Poor thing,” said Anne. “I wonder if she’s had a stroke?” The woman’s slurred speech kept us from understanding her street address, but never clued us in to her drunken state. We were stumped, but Anne had a great idea.

“Let’s take her to the police station. They will know what to do.”

We innocently drove to the local police station and I went in to get some help. What we encountered next still causes an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. The policeman came out to the car, but instead of the sympathetic listener we expected a rude voice barked at us.

“What do you kids want?”

We did our best to explain our situation, but the flashlight he so rudely shined in our eyes caused us to feel intimidated and uneasy. Finally, the abrupt officer understood our problem . His response to our tenderhearted attempts to let our little lights shine was a gruff, “That’s ol’ Rosie. Just let her off at the city dump.”

Not knowing what else to do we drove to a street near the dump, found a house nearby and knocked on the door. An old man in his underwear took Rosie’s drunken self and roughly half drug her into the house.

When I returned home that night I cried and cried. I cried for Rosie. I cried because her husband didn’t seem much better off than she. But mostly I cried, because the policeman who should have been part of the light walked on the dark side.

It didn’t make me want to join him there, it just made me sad.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.