This morning it was overcast making the bathroom dark and dingy. Instead of my usual practice of turning on a light, I grabbed three candles from the collection at the foot of the bath. Rummaging in a drawer, I found the matches and lit them, creating a yellow glow against the grey slate of the bathroom tiles.
As I stepped into the shower, I wondered why, this morning, I felt the need to light this dark day with candles. Then I realised that it was ‘a dark day’ in more ways than one. This morning I had read that police had arrested and charged a man with Jill Meagher’s rape and murder.
Which led me to consider why at times like these we resort to candles. We use candles for happy occasions such as birthdays and dinner parties. And practical reasons like during blackouts. But we also use them for candlelight vigils and to light in churches for those who have passed away. Maybe because the warm glow of candlelight is a comfort. It enables us to create beauty in a world where we have been confronted with terror and grief. The simple light of a candle enables us to reclaim some authority over the pain that would weaken and reduce us to being too fearful to leave our homes. A lit candle turns the harshness of a dark room into something softer, something we might be able to manage.
So, light a candle—for Jill Meagher; for her family; for someone you’ve lost; for yourself. But most of all, light one because you can and they’re beautiful.