“Mommy, mommy, tell us about the time you got hit in the face with a fish!” My 4-year-old exclaims.
“Yeah, yeah! Tell us mom!” My 2-year-old adds.
My kids love stories. I love that they love stories. This story is one of their favorites.
“Well kids, one time, in a country far, far away, I was riding on the ocean on a small boat. It was dark, and we were headed back to shore. The stars were bright and shining clear while the ocean looked black as oil. Then, all of a sudden something hit me in the head! I didn’t know what it was at first, but when I looked down in the boat, I saw it. It was a fish! It jumped right out of the ocean. And you know what?”
<the rapt attention of a 2 and 4 year old>
“It was glowing green! It was a glowing, green fish! And you know what else? It left some of its glow on my face! Can you believe that!?”
“Like a ghost, mommy?” My 2-year-old asks because he’s fascinated by ghosts.
“But mommy, why was it glowing?” My 4-year-old asks because she’s at that stage where she wants to know why? Why? WHY!?
At this point, I used to tell them the truth. “I don’t know, that’s just how God made that fish.”
But that was before.
That was before I started to understand about light and things that glow. Now I tell them something different.
I tell them everything has a light. And it’s not just for making things seen – for illuminating the darkness – although it can do that too.
The light within all things is primordial. It’s the dangling light of an Angler fish made popular in Finding Nemo. It’s the glow that runs through jelly fish, lightning bugs and the aurora borealis.
And if you think you can only find this glow in the wild, think again…
… because this is what happens when you electrify rarefied gasses in a tube.
Whether it’s obvious or not, this elemental neon glow of far away galaxies and nebulas is what we’re all made of, and we only fail in life when we don’t see it, or we allow someone else to dim it.
I now know that the glowing fish that hit me in the face, wasn’t glowing itself, per se. The glow was from the algae in the water, which is common off the coast of Costa Rica. It’s called bioluminescence, and it’s the production and emission of light by a living organism.
Since their faces would gloss over if I said “bioluminescence” I tell them that the fish was giving me a kiss because he wanted to show me his light, and to remind me of my own. I say that each of them has this light too, even if they don’t see it. I tell them we all have it, and it’s our job in life to find it, follow it, and let it lead us back to shore over and over again.
I tell them they should try to see the light in everyone else too, no matter how dark it seems. And I tell them it’s very important not to allow anyone to tell them they don’t have a light.
And if they ever forget, they just need to look at the stars, or the local 7-11.
Then I tell them about an ancient greeting called “Namaste” which essentially means, “the divine light in me, sees, honors and bows to the divine light in you.”
And maybe someday I’ll add a little information about the relatively new technology of nuclear medicine which illuminates biologic activity in the body.
Because wherever you see it, it’s all light, life and love…
Why? Because that’s just how God made us.