A daughter reflects on her mom's generosity and loving ways.
|Candle in the Window
(a 2nd place contest winner)
Mistress of my home, keeper of cupboard and hearth, I vowed that all I had I would openly share. My door would always be open to family and friends and to anyone in need who would venture there.
But my Lord said, “Be foolish not, for a keeper of hearth and home must a good steward be. It is not wise to keep your door open always, for in the dark of night, thieves will venture in and steal all that you have.”
And I said to my Lord, “How then will those in need know they are welcome here?”
And my Lord said, “Be still and thou will think of a way.”
And I was still, but an answer did not come, but at last I heard a voice that said, “Place a candle in the window, for a thief will not come where there is a light, but for those who are lost or in need, it will surely guide the way.”
When I was small and ventured out of doors, I laughed and played the day away.
The sun would go down and it was time to go home for Mama was waiting. Mama always said the night was no place for a child to be. I wasn’t afraid. I’d be in the house by dark for there was always the light to help guide my way. There was a candle in the window.
As supper warmed on the fire and the hour grew late, Papa would round the corner, a smile upon his weary face. He knew his wife and family waited and there would be love and warmth in the little wood frame house. Thoughts of his pipe and slippers, the paper on the arm of his favorite chair going through his mind; one look towards home and a new jauntiness appeared in his step. Love chased away the cold and filled his heart. He could see the welcome of the candle in the window.
Holidays, happy days, friends with smiles or tears, needing a recipe or just wanting to talk and sit a spell, children with laughter needing a place to play, all were welcome here. In winter coffee always on the fire, in summer lemonade with a mint leaf sprig; all served with smiles, kindness, friendship or a hanky to wipe away the tears. The door was open by day, and at night they knew it was alright to call. Friendship lived in the house with a candle in the window.
Strangers new in town, nowhere to turn, not knowing a soul. It didn’t take them long; they soon found the way. Everyone in town knew there was one who wouldn’t turn them away. Middle of the night, a fire struck and wiped a family out. With babe in arms they came to the house. The poor family on Christmas Eve that wouldn’t have a feast, much less a tree, they wouldn’t be alone. There would be a seat at the table and a gift for one and all. They had only to come to the little house where friendship made up for the lack of room. Kindness could be found within the house with a candle in the window.
Candle in the window, symbol of light, welcome, friendship and love. Kindness and goodness would dwell here. The door open by day, closed by night but never barred.
Surely God’s spirit was the message, His love the gift, and the woman a blessing. Her quiet way unsaid by any action or word. One simple deed--a candle in the window.
Now the woman is gone and the little house is dark. The little town has changed. Many new buildings stand where old ones have come down, but none would touch the little wood frame house. Precious memories dwell there and in their minds. Everyone sees, but not a house nor the dark. They remember--a candle in the window.
Now I have become a keeper of cupboard and hearth. I have a home of my own; the little house too small for my needs. But lessons learned are hard to shed, part of me inbred. I cook and clean, watch over my child and wait for my spouse as supper is on the fire. By day the door is open and by night, though it may be closed, it’s never barred. All are welcome here and they only need look to know. Quietly, in the still of night, softly there’s a little glow. There’s a candle in the window.