Why does light die? 

Light is the energy emitted by excited electrons falling back to their resting states. It is generated by the heated filament of a light bulb. By the chemical reaction in a firefly’s abdomen. By the nuclear reactions in our local star. It is directed, transmitted, dissipated. According to science, it does not think or feel. Light cannot die because it was never alive. 

But truth can be accessed from more than one source. When I see the diffracted reds, yellows, and oranges of a sunrise, I sense life. When I feel the heat of the summer sun on my skin, I sense life. Even when I see miniature lights strung from a tree In the darkness of a winter night, I sense life. 

Where does light go when it dies?  

Light is the base source of energy for all life on Earth. The light from the sun powers our weather, drives photosynthesis in plants which store energy for animal consumption, provides the warmth that makes our Earth hospitable for life. Energy is not created or destroyed; it changes forms. Light changes to heat, to sugar stored in the cells of trees, to baby’s cries in darkness, to mother rocking baby back to sleep. 

Is light reborn?

When the light goes out, sometimes it seems that it has been extinguished forever. When the light vanishes, sometimes it seems that it will never reappear. But it is not gone. It has changed form. It is always there in one way or another. Does that mean we should take it for granted? Or that we should nurture it, cultivate it, spread it? 

Each day, each month, each year, a little of our light dies. Whether through illness or injury, disappointment or doubt, we are not the same people we were when this year began. Do you wonder whether your light will return? Sometimes I do. Sometimes we all do. But it will. It always will, though we know not in what form. 

My courage for us is that we always believe somewhere inside that our light may die. It may change form. But it is always there. It will always be reborn. And that we have a hand in its rebirth. 

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