Parables of Love, Part 2: The Guiding Light
Yellows and oranges and pinks swirled across the cover of a thick clothbound text. Parables of Love for the Seeking was sewn in rich green threads around the front edges.The pages had those nice soft, uncut edges with tabs and flags marking favored quotes and sections. A rainbow of ribbons and bookmarks overflowed from the manuscript. But she knew just which one she wanted.
“We start our official lessons today, sweet Sarah,” Emma began.
The clouds parted and revealed bright, glowing godlight in the distance behind where Emma spoke. The big gallery windows of the yoga studio yielded completely to the rays, their panes invisible as the morning fog lifted. The sky still glowed gray beyond the reach of the beams radiating from the pale yellow orb, but the clouds no longer seemed threatening.
I checked my phone and the forecast no longer called for rain. Maybe the April showers were finally coming to an end and spring sun showers settling in.
I put my phone away to attune my energy and attention on my teacher. Emma had been my yoga instructor for three years now. Her group classes brightened my weeks, especially our Sunday morning sessions. We all came to class seeking rejuvenation for the week and we found it, Sunday after Sunday, as our energies merged and the music reverberated off the studio walls and mixed with our own frequencies.
Three weeks ago, I asked about private lessons. I just needed more. I couldn’t explain it, but I followed the prompting and I asked if she was available.
“I’ll only agree if you’re really ready,” she’d replied to inquiry.
I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but, of course, I said I was ready. Last week all we did was breathe and practice listening, so I was curious to see what this week would hold.
“I want you to look at the light. Focus on its subtle movement. Just look. Focus.” Emma lowered her voice bit by bit as she spoke, growing increasingly serene. I knew serenity should be my goal too. But…
I couldn’t help it. I laughed.
“Focusing is not really a strength of mine.”
She just smiled. “Focus, Sarah.”
The light then seemed to dance a bit as I looked at it. Nothing is ever completely still, I thought. Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for my struggles sitting still or even with lying in savasana. We are always moving. Forward, I added to myself. I am here, in fact, to move forward.
I felt a calmness begin to overcome me.
“There you are. Now tell me what the light makes you think of?” Emma prompted.
“What do you mean?” I asked, “Like a flame, or like something deeper… I don’t know what your’e after here.”
“Sarah, I mean the lesson it teaches you. That’s what you’re here for, right?”
“Well, the lesson is yours. You already know it. So tell me what you’re thinking about.”
This was not what I expected. Not what I signed up for, I thought.
But then, for some reason, it came to me.
“It makes me think of a poem I wrote for my mom years ago, ‘The Ballad of the Guiding Light’. I gave it to her for Mothers Day. It had been a rough year. I’d been in and out doctors’ offices. I’d changed high schools again. She’d been considering remarrying and was filled with self-doubt. We both were. There had been a lot of tears that year, mostly alone in our rooms, never shared, but we’d known there’d been tears nonetheless. So…”
I paused, a lump forming in my throat as I remembered. I really hoped I wasn’t going to cry now.
“So… you wanted to give her a lesson in love, and tell her that she had taught you that the guiding light was still and always there,” Emma concluded.
“That’s your first lesson, Sarah. And it’s one you’ve already learned but sometimes forget. The light is always there. Tell me the lesson, Sarah. How do you know the light is always there. Remind yourself.”
So I began to explain how what had begun as night-lights and bed time songs and family prayers and transformed into something greater. I had learned, through my mother’s love, to see the light in others. At first, it was just her. I saw the twinkle in her eyes and how it never faded. I saw how she beamed when she was talking to children.
Soon, I could see it in the children themselves. Eventually, I learned to see it when she wasn’t even with me. I realized it wasn’t even her light. It was more than that. It was universal, pure and loving. Godlight, I called it, after reading that phrase in a book once in which the author described luminescent rays breaking through clouds. It was always there, somehow, even if forces tried to hide it.
Not clouds. Not sorrow. Not loneliness. Not pain. Nothing could put the light out.
And my mom taught me that. From night-lights to godlight, I knew the darkness could not endure. Light always breaks through.
I was crying by now, but smiling somehow.
“We’re almost done, sweetie. But you have more to say. Tell me more about that guiding light,” she paused, “godlight, I like that. I want to know what you’re not telling me. Something powerful happened in a moment when you knew forever that light would be with you. And, if you tell me, the lesson will never be lost.”
I came to Emma because I was lost. I knew she was right. I knew I had within me all the lessons I needed. I’d been given a rich and complicated life and so many blessings, but I was so unhappy. It was time to remember what I already knew.
The guiding light is still there.
“About two years ago, I had the most amazing experience. And what I remember most was the light streaming through the windows, surrounding me…”
NOTE: Part III was published as Soul Songs 22 and immediately follows this section of My Soul Songs, Parables of Love