images from internet
I was purified each Sunday, sitting on a child-sized wooden chair, belting out “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Sure of salvation, my only worry was whether I’d forget the Bible verse memorized by repeating it every morning and every night for the preceding week.
I was glorious holy, worrying about my dad, who put the harvest before church, trying to pray him back from a future Hell. Yes, there were happy ladies shepherding us up the back stairs from Sunday School to real church above; but there were also those who gave us brief flashes of the fires of Hell, who denied that perfect attendance bar for my Sunday School pin even when my excuse was a verified hospital stay to have my tonsils out. Muriel, the preacher’s daughter and my oldest sister’s best friend, stealing the bar to add to my Sunday School pin, anyway. Surely this member of a holy family herself validity enough to certify my perfect attendance in intention if not in fact.
Where did it go, that round white enamel pin with the surrounding gold cluster for the second year and new bar hanging down each year thereafter for perfect attendance? I wore it with such pride. Did it blow away in the tornado that lifted my parents’ roof that year long after I had left? Was it stolen in the burglary at my house where 70 rings were stolen? Did divine intervention finally lift it from my possession?
The only certainty is that this pack rat did not throw it away. I am an artist of little things, joining them together to create stories of my life, the world and thoughts above this world. They are little lights of mine shining words and memories—little song medleys that belt the lyrics as surely as that basement room of children, sure in their conviction that somewhere out there in the universe, someone or something was watching them shine.
The prompt word today is “shine.”