From the back seat of the car, out my window, I watch London concrete and skyline blur into verdant hills punctuated with white, wooly sheep. Weaving around farms, through dales and down high streets, we travel to the country before dusk. My mind and heart slow in the exhale of a commute to the Cotswolds for a writing retreat.
Behind me in the boot, next to a bag of books, computer and suitcase are cardboard boxes holding the delicate jewelry of two chandeliers; light fixtures potentially worth more than the car for which I am graciously being chauffeured.
“Do you want me to turn on my GPS?” I ask my friend behind the wheel and his wife holding a map.
I am travelling with third generation owners of Denton Antiques in Notting Hill, selling circa 1750-1900 masterpieces that once donned the walls and ceilings of castles and places of storybooks. A voyeur to the ways of a 100 year old family business boasting of clientele around the world, I am attempting to assist in finding the house of a client’s son tasked with selecting a chandelier his parents are buying for him.
He hasn’t made a decision yet and we’re in the area, so why not sample each antique light fixture in the room?
His mother, the client, greets me in the driveway. I am surrounded by a stone wall, canopied by a walnut tree and flanked by flowers growing through cracks. A dog pokes his snout through the fence in welcome.
She tells me in the house where she grew up hangs one of Mrs. Crick’s chandeliers (how the business was known in the early years), one hangs in her house and now she’s delighted to carry on the tradition with her son and his wife. This gift of lighting up a dark room where her grandsons gather in the evening isn’t for a birthday, anniversary or special occasion.
She has helped her other children monetarily in the past when they have needed assistance but this son has been successful. He hasn’t asked for anything. She is celebrating his everyday successes.
Promotions, high marks, achieving top ranks – these are all worth cards, balloons, expensive dinners and uncorking fine labels from the cellar. But what about the ability to pay off debts, maintain a happy marriage, serve dinner every night to those around your table, listen to your children attentively, and remain faithful in the face of adversity?Our smallness in the everyday graces of life are worth bringing into the light and celebrating.
Leaning on the door frame, I watch my friend attach glass arms, screw in light bulbs and connect wires from the top step of a ladder. As crystals dangle, rays of light from a large window pass through and illuminate delicate pieces. A tired room is transformed by the beauty of light refracted.
In refraction, the light changes its speed and wavelength but the frequency of light remains constant.
Back in London, in the display window of Denton Antiques, hangs the world’s most beautiful chandeliers and an open antique Bible, a book that has been in the window since the beginning. Every day, a page is turned so people passing by on foot can read about the Light.
In a million tiny ways, we refract Light to those around us. We take what is base to humanity and reassign meaning and value through daily choices. The amount of Light we have available never changes but what we do with the Light changes everything.
My friends are not just selling beautiful chandeliers to people with deep pockets; they are spreading the Light into dark places. One page at time; one every day choice to be faithful with what has been given.
And that’s worth celebrating, don’t you think?
How can you celebrate the everyday faithfulness of people today?