Our theme on Sunday was the light that God brings to the world. I shared the story of Melina, a woman whose grandmother survived the Holocaust. The grandmother miraculously carried a small possession away from the concentration camp where she was interned. It was a wooden sculpture of a deer that she had owned as a child. The figure meant a great deal to the grandmother, and it was eventually passed down into Melina’s hands, along with the story of its miraculous survival. Melina treasured this sculpture more than any other possession.
One day a thief broke into Melina’s house and stole some of her valuables. He also broke the wooden deer into pieces. The man was caught and went to jail for his crime. Melina tried her best to forgive him for breaking the sculpture but felt the need to confront him in order to tell him how much the deer meant to her and how hurt she was by its destruction. She met the thief at the jail and told her story. The man broke down and apologized…and then told his story. He was an unemployed electrician with no money to pay the rent for his small family or for medicine and medical bills for his baby girl. In an act of desperation, he broke into Melina’s home in order to provide for his own family.
Melina decided to drop all charges. She was surprised when the thief called her one day to thank her for her act of kindness. They met for coffee several times and became friends. A year after their last meeting Melina learned that the man was killed while robbing a sporting goods store. Grieving and confused, she invited a couple friends over and told them that perhaps she had done the wrong thing, that the man might still be alive today if he had stayed in prison and received the help he really needed. She told her friends that the man seemed to be at war with himself, and then she told a story she had recently heard from another friend:
A female Cherokee woman wore a necklace with a figure made out of a single piece of abalone. The figure was that of a two-headed wolf: the body and one head was light in color; the other head was very dark. The two heads faced each other with open mouths. One day her young son asked, “Mother, what is the meaning of the wolf with the two heads?” She replied, “It represents every human being; it represents me. There are two forces facing each other at all times: the dark head represents fear and the light head represents love. With every decision I make, a battle is won; either love or fear wins with every action and every word I choose.” The son asked, “Which of the wolves will win the war in the end?” His mother replied without hesitation, “Whichever one I feed.”
Melina told her friends, “Regardless of the consequences that the thief chose, I think I chose love…and he chose fear. I believe in my life I chose to feed the lighter wolf won and love won, and in his life he fed the darker wolf and it won.”
In the midst of the darkness that we encounter in our lives, I invite you to feed the lighter wolf, which is another was of saying: “Let your light shine, for God’s light is shining within you.”
See you on Sunday!