Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, Swarthmore shut down for the first time in anyone’s memory (at least 34 years). The power went out in my dorm, except for a few generator-powered lights in the hallway, where a bunch of my hallmates and I gathered for card games last night, and half of the bathroom. This meant that this morning, when I decided to be hygienic for a change and take a shower, I was showering in the dark.
Now, for a wide variety of reasons, I found this a… stressful prospect.
Luckily, I had some battery-operated faux candles (they even smell nice!) from Target, and I decided to use them to make my morning shower slightly less scary. This was only a little bit successful, since they’re not very bright and they flicker a lot, so it ended up still being terrifying, yet also somewhat… romantic?… which only added to the overall creepiness.
But I went ahead alone in the bathroom, jumping at my own shadow on the tile walls, and I started thinking about light. I was remembering going to Quaker Meeting on Sunday, because Quakers talk about the Light, i.e. the inner light of the divine in each of us, pretty often. To think comforting thoughts for a person, or say prayers for them, is to “hold them in the Light.”
My grandmother passed away last week, and when I was notifying professors that I would be missing class, I was surprised by how many of them replied, “I’ll be holding your grandmother and your family in the Light.” What does this even mean? And why do I find it so touching? I don’t really know. But I know that nobody wants to be left in the dark. We want to be thought of, and seen, and we want to be able to see.
I’m lucky that I have professors who’ve rearranged schedules to accommodate me during the storm and during the week I spent at home for my grandmother’s wake and funeral. I’m lucky that I have friends who bought me balloons and took me for milkshakes when I was sad. I’m lucky that the power’s come back on, and that I do feel that I’m being held in the Light.