I have these two candlesticks that had been sitting around outside for a couple years. Rather like us, just being out in the world, at the mercy of the random forces and elements out there.
This is what they looked like: Not much. Maybe more trash than treasure.
Then one day (today) I remembered they were "there." And I went and found them. Didn't really want to touch them, but I thought, hey I remember something good there. I'm going to have to touch them so I can take them inside, clean them up, and reveal what they really are.
It seemed inconvenient at first. I thought to myself, why bother. It's so much work, and I have so much to do. They are just candlesticks anyway. The world is full of candlesticks. Then I thought, but these are MY candlesticks. They are part of my world. If I say I want to make the world (my world) beautiful, I am not being my agreement with myself if I chose to be lazy and do nothing.
I got my soap. I got my scrub brush. I turned on the hot water. The dirt and dirt infused wax residue began to give way. The hot water hurt my hands a few times. I learned how to work around it better, and also got used to it, so that the times I did come in contact with the hot water, it didn't hurt so much.
I scrubbed hard. It took energy, and patience, and determination. The more I saw the dirt and wax give way, the more into it I got. I felt inspired to make them completely clean. Not just rinsed off, but without one bit of residue remaining. The task became easier and easier, and I felt better and better. It was as if the more sparkle I summoned from the candlesticks, the more sparkle I felt from inside me.
Finally, I brought them out into the sun, and beheld them, sparkling against the blue sky, revealed as the treasures the truly are. Wow, I thought. To think I almost through them away, or let them slip further into forgetting.
Now they sit in a beautiful place on my main shelf, contributing to the sparkle, and beauty of the world I am making.
I realized that these crystal candlesticks represented my life, our lives. How we see others and how we see ourselves. It seems like most of the time, we see the dirt and grit we've accumulated from the challenges and obstacles we face dealing with our society, our culture, the environment, and the world such as they are.
How easy it is to see the superficial layers of dirt, pain, battle scars, and believe that's the truth about something, someone, ourselves... How easy it is to forget that there is something authentic, beautiful, and a one of a kind treasure under all that. How challenging it can be to be willing to take on such a dirty task of peeling away, and cleaning off those layers, when often we don't even want to GO there, "touch it", or even look at it. But when we remember things we are grateful for from our past, or things we can be grateful for in the moment, we get a glimmer of our authentic selves... and can develop the inspiration, motivation, and courage to open our eyes, to look, to touch, to grasp - gently picking up two very very dirty candlesticks as if they were treasures to be handled with love and care.
With a little faith, and some determination, we start clearing away the superficial layers. The illusions that pretend to be us. The more glimpses we have of the true nature of our lives, the stronger our faith becomes: a knowing that there is priceless treasure there. Our courage grows greater and greater to do the work, and endure the occasional pain that goes with the process. As we continue clearing away what is inauthentic, the illusion pretending to be the truth about ourselves, we become stronger, more powerful. What hurt us in the past, no longer causes us pain. We find our patience has developed too, and in no time, we are crystal clear, sparkling brightly in the light of that Source of all that is good and right, shining beauty into the world.
Now the world has become a more beautiful amazing place, thanks to you. :)