Here’s a quick story about lighters…and light.

Yesterday was kinda a tough day. Not for me but for a friend. Like that old children’s book, he was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Now, listen, I’ve had more than my share of such days, especially over the past five years. I know how terrible, horrible, no good and very bad those



No good

Very bad

Days can be.

I have been blessed to have friends who hold space for me when I have them, so I try to do the same when someone I care about has them on their own. But yesterday was a most stubborn case of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad. My friend simply could not shake it.

After hanging out at my house for about six, maybe seven, hours, he said that he would just go home. I gave him a hug, wished him luck and closed the door, just as the sun finished setting on the day.

Unfortunately, he had been here so long that his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day had sorta rubbed off on my place. There was a darkness, a heaviness, a gloom.

“I’ll light some incense,” I thought.

If you know me, you know that that is my response to just about every little old thing. I love the intentionality of lighting incense. The clearing it brings. The connection to what I call spirit.

Except, I couldn’t light incense yesterday afternoon.

Because my friend had inadvertantly taken my lighter with him.

And that was the proverbial straw that came thisclose to breaking the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad back.

“I’ll bring it to you tomorrow,” my friend said.

“Ugh,” I thought (not my exact thought, but my mother sometimes reads these posts, so I’ll keep it clean).

I had a gulp of my gin and tonic, put on my coat and headed out the door to the convenience store down the road from my house.

“Hello, good evening,” the clerk said. “How are you today?”

I went right past his greeting and just said, “Do you have lighters.”

“Yes, sir, we do. They are right here. Let me know if I can help you further.”

I looked at this guy.

He was smiling.

In the most genuine way.

“What a fantastic energy you have,” I told him.

“Thank you,” he said. “I try to stay light on the inside so that whoever needs it may do the same.”

And that, my friends, was all it took.

I bought the lighters, walked home, smiling with each step, and sent prayers in the direction of my friend.

When I got home, I opened a window.

To let out any remants of terrrible, horrible, no good, very bad “stuff.” And continue to welcome in that universal light. The light that is always there. Even in the darkest darkness.

And I thought to myself, “What a gift this life is.”

Sure there are days when our light gets dimmed. Sometimes by others.

But if we just keep moving. If we just take action.

We’ll find new light.

Sometimes in the most unexpected places.

And bring it home.

To ourselves.

The Practice of Being Alive is a collection of stories about getting through this thing called life.