Moments by Candlelight

Thursday, March 21, 2002

As I sit here Thursday morning in a dark office, I am quickly reminded just how dependent I've become on worldly luxuries.

Yet somehow, I feel strangely romantic sitting in the candlelight, composing a column on a sheet of white typing paper.

Obviously, by the time this column reaches your eyes, it will no longer be written in purple ink. It will be typed along the left side of the Opinion page, and it will be legible to anyone, not just myself and those trained in handwriting analysis.

While you will gain the ability to read it as it slides into its place in the newspaper, you'll be missing the moment that gave birth to the column. And I want to share with you my strange candlelight realization.

Many members of the adult generation remember where they were when they heard the news of JFK's death.

Most of us remember where we were just six months ago when we heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center. These were big events in the lives of Americans. They were moments they will remember forever.

Why do they remember them? Because they were such significant events that it was almost like they froze time. I am having one of those moments by candlelight.

Nothing tragic is happening. No crucial changes are being made in my life. But strangely, time has frozen. You see those movies where time freezes and select people are allowed to continue to move about trying to right wrongs or fix problems.

The office seemed that way for me on Thursday.

After a few minutes of conversation with the office personnel, I retreated to my office and sat thinking in front of three candles on my desk.

Time stood still. There were no obligations, no stacks of work that could be done and no phones screaming to be answered. I had nothing I could do except think. I thought about my life about how I got where I am and about how I'll get where I'm going.

I thought about the lives of my family and friends and how they impact me daily, often without realizing it. I thought about time and space and right and wrong and yesterday and tomorrow.

Sad, I thought, how every moment of my day seems to be allocated to something or someone. Sad, that it takes a national tragedy or a power outage to get us to stop and think about life.

Luckily, I've found time in my life to think, even when the electricity is on and the world seems at peace. And luckily, I've come upon a few friends that will just sit and think with me. Silence, strange as it may sound, is often the best conversation. And darkness, it seems, is also good for thought.

My moment of darkness is long past now. But, despite its brevity and seeming insignificance, I'll remember what being in the dark taught me about seeing the light.