There are so many lights in this world. Maybe too many. It’s hard to know what they all mean and which ones to follow.

There are guiding lights and warning lights and floodlights and emergency lights.

Lights that pull you in and lights that make you want to run and hide.

Lights in buildings and houses. Lighting refrigerators and computer screens. Powered by coal-burning man hours. (I can see my Dad driving his coal truck under the lonely Wyoming sky. Breathing that black soot. Dark shadows in his lungs. Making him cough at night. I don’t like that part about lights.)

Blinding light that makes you lose your focus. Glittery, seductive, dazzling light that makes you say yes when you mean no. Darkness packaged in light and light packaged in darkness. (It’s hard to tell sometimes.)

Borrowed lights, dying lights, and lights that take way too many batteries to keep them shining.

Then there’s the light that dances on a loved one’s face through the curtains in the morning. Making patterns and mazes and magical wonders on sleepy skin. Making you want that moment to last forever. (I like that part about light.)

Ah, sunlight and moonlight and starlight. Starlight that takes hours and sometimes years before we see it on earth. (Light years. There are light years.)

Curious light that shines through cracks in doors.

Brave light that shines on dark closets of skeletons. (Finally! Let them tumble out in a heap of shameless truth bones so we can breathe again!)

Candlelight to honor deaths and births. And special times that have you making darknesspromises you’re not entirely sure you can keep.

Lights you think will burn forever, but they don’t.

Lights you think will burn out any minute, but they just keep going.

Lights that light up dark corridors, making it feel safe enough to travel, only to sizzle out when you’re smack dab in the middle of that tunnel. (Fuck you, light!)

And then there’s the light they tell you not to hide under a bushel. (Let your light shine!) And you do shine! Oh, you do. Except when you hit BURNOUT and need to sleep under the dark covers for a few days. (Which makes you shine even more.)

There’s light you can’t see. Light you didn’t even know you had, but people tell you it sparkles in your eyes and your smile. And shines through the way you love. And fills the room when you walk in. Light that is felt in the way you laugh or make the morning coffee.

And then, there’s the light behind the light. The light that lights all light. The light that never goes out. But here’s the hard, tricky thing about that light:

Sometimes you don’t know which one it is until all the other lights go out.

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