Leave the Lights On…

Dear Reader:

Have you ever noticed that when one light goes out in your house…inexplicably other light bulbs often “pop” at the same time?

It is as if there is some kind of conspiracy among light bulbs…a time when they meet in darkness and whisper that they are all going to “pop” and go out when each one is turned on the next day.

Yesterday my adorable neighbor Luke came over to help me get four lights burning again…within a few hours all went out. My hall light, my “Happy Room”  recessed light (this required a tall, tall ladder) and both porch lights.

It was while Luke was switching out new bulbs for the “dead” ones on the porch that memories of my high school days came tumbling back ..dating and the front porch light.

We moved from North Carolina to Laurens, South Carolina (Located in the Piedmont region) when I was turning fourteen and entering high school…Ben was in his junior year.

When it came to lights and mother…we could go without a light bulb in a lamp or ceiling light until she could get to the store or send Ben, who was now driving, to the store for new bulbs… but she never let the front porch light  go out on our home on Barksdale Circle in Laurens.

Some of the reason, probably, was being a single mother with three children… she wanted the security of the front porch light on…but as Ben and I began staying out at night more with meetings, performances, sports events, practices, dating, etc. in high school mother came up with a new rule…an iron-clad new rule involving the porch light.

On week nights everyone had to be home by 9:30 and on weekends…11:00. Mother always told us as we left to go here or there that the front porch light was only staying on until the curfew deadline…after that lights were out and we were on our own to get back in the house.

Oh…Ben and I each had a key…but the lock on the front door was sketchy at best…even in broad daylight it took a lot of twisting, turning, pulling and pushing at the same time to get it open. It was much easier to get someone inside to open it than to try it yourself.

The penalty for being late was a different chore for each minute we were late so we knew if the light was off and we had to first find the key in our pants pockets or (in my case) my pocketbook and then try to fit the key in the lock and then open it in the dark…we were going to be doing lots and lots of chores.

Our worse fear (more than extra chores) was not being able to get in and mother opening the door…this time she would turn on the light and there we would stand with an arrested mugshot  expression on our faces.

I always pictured mother sleeping once the light was turned off the front porch (after a missed curfew…like a clueless teenager) but now as a mother and grandmother…I realize that mother never slept when we were out at night…until we were safe and sound back home. Then the porch light stayed on the rest of the night.

*If there was an emergency situation, car failure, or late pick-up by another parent…we had to find a phone and call…no ‘and’s, it’s or but’s.

As much as we siblings hated the front porch light rule as teenagers…I realize now that my love of light, lamps, and lanterns all stem back to this period. The front porch light shining bright in the darkness meant security…someone cared enough to keep the light on for us…and if we disobeyed the rule…we had to pay the penalty of temporary darkness until the light once again returned. 

Isn’t our relationship with God closely tied to that of our parents as children and adolescents? The light is always on during each dark night and remains on as long as we do what is right and expected of us.

Even if we mess up occasionally…and we find ourselves lost and fumbling for the key that will unlock the light again…we know we are not alone fumbling in the darkness. There is Someone on the other side of the door Who will re-open the light for us…again and again…because as God’s children we are loved unconditionally.

So until tomorrow…We all think about the beauty of the radiance of the sun light and our love for it…but what about moon light…Aren’t we all asked, at some time, to be the one to provide the light in the darkness for another?

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* A full moon is expected for the first day of the new year…Monday…maybe Eloise will be drawn out of her nice, warm cocoon by the pull of the Old Man in the Moon. We will see.

Over Christmas I put up decorative little white lights around the mirror in my bathroom…It was supposed to be more for a festive effect than anything,  but I soon realized that little diffused white lights take about ten years off one’s face…it is so much easier to look in the mirror in the mornings than with four light fixtures beaming back at you. I have created an illusion that sure makes my morning brighter.

Wasn’t it so wise of God to make sure that we can’t see our own faces as we go about our daily lives…just the others around us? That way I live quite happily in my delusional but satisfied state of being.

Both Sue Anne and Honey, said they wanted to keep their ‘Word of the Year’ another year too. Sue Anne said that she just couldn’t make it through life if she didn’t have FAITH.

Honey said she was talking to her daughter Ashley and told her she was trying to think of another new word for this year but all her feelings pointed her back towards HOPE. Ashley, wisely, told her mother then she should stick with hope. *Ashley’s right Honey….”HO” ney and “HO”pe go together like two peas in a pod…it just fits.

Anybody else? Ready to change or stay? Share your thoughts with us.

John and Mandy gave themselves a wonderful Christmas present…an overnight getaway to the Biltmore House Inn and tours of the house and grounds. They were glad they had reservations because the crowds were immense and it was bitter cold. Nothing, however, can take away from the awe and wonder of this Vanderbilt castle….they even braved the elements and took the roof tour….looking out over the frozen ponds.


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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8 Responses to Leave the Lights On…

  1. Janet Bender says:

    As my mind has been pondering my word for 2018, it seems to toggle back and forth between “solitude” & “relationships.” What’s up with this? This morning after reading your blog, it came to me: The best way to reconcile these two concepts is to focus on my relationship with the Father God…the only relationship that is best nurtured in solitude. So for 2018, I choose two words. As I focus more on quiet time with my Friend Jesus, I will learn to be more loving in other relationships.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I love the idea of carving out a niche of time to be still and know Who God is…and more importantly what He wants us to do…solitude and a ‘closer walk with Thee’ relationship. Two great words for 2018!


  2. bcparkison says:

    Good read Miss Becky.
    Oh goodness….I love the Biltmore house. Just beautiful. Went many years ago and would enjoy going back.
    Keep the light on. Even Motel 6 does that.


  3. Gin'g Edwards says:

    Becky. ..when I was first married I wrote a poem for my Mother and it was about 6 lines. ..the first line was that my Mother taught me to look out and enjoy all of God’s beautiful creations…the second line was that my Mother taught me to see the needs of others and to care…really care…

    So I think my word or words will be gratitude for all my blessings and care…caring for others…foe the New Year.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Gin-g your middle name should be “care” ….Your care-giving goes so far past the average…you are amazing…always putting others before yourself.


  4. Jo Dufford says:

    I, too, had chosen the word ” listen” last year. We had a great Christmas, and then Donna had convinced me that one is never too old for Disney, so off we went for four enchanting days. With me on my scooter and even after all of their care, you can rest assured the crowds at Disney still had much to fear. But I birdwalk (remember PET?). As I watched so many parents with eyes glued on phones, children saying over and over, “Mama or Daddy” ,and no one listening, I couldn’t help but wonder how often have I heard someone but failed to really listen or hear her/him. I sometimes do that when I’m reading, (yes, sadly sometimes it is even God’s Word.). Not only will I take ” listen” for my word again, but I will make my resolution to really listen, hear and feel the words of others more, including words in books and particularly to God’s Words.


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