Two Small Candles

Barry and I were married on the coldest, darkest night of the year. December 21, 1968 had subzero weather with blinding snow. We said our vows on that solstice eve in a darkened church with only the light of two candles which we held between us. Though it was dark, the light of just these two small candles gave warmth, hope and radiance to our spoken words.

After the ceremony, many said it was the most beautiful wedding they had witnessed. “The light was so bright,” they remarked with enthusiasm. How could two small candles create so much light? We were only 22 years old, young and rather naive. We didn’t know what the solstice was, much less the symbolism of the darkness and light. We picked that day because it was the only time Barry was free from medical school. We picked the dark evening because it was the only time the church was available.

Yet over the years I have often reflected on how perfect it was for us to be married in the dark coldness of winter. There have been many times in our marriage when the darkness seemed to be crowding in, almost suffocating our love. These were times that the cold darkness between us made us feel we didn’t want to try anymore. It was during these trying times in our marriage that we would remember the blinding snowstorm on the black night of our wedding . . . and how two single candles had brought so much warmth and radiance. The light of these candles represented our simple love and appreciation of each other.

So surrounded by the darkness of our minds and emotions, we would once again speak simple words of appreciation to each other. The powerful act of appreciation fanned the smoldering embers of our covered-over hearts, which then glowed brighter as more and more kind words were spoken. Soon there was enough of a flame and warm radiance to allow for the deeper expressions of love.

The darkness was still all around us. It hadn’t gone away, just like the darkness outside the church so many years ago. Yet the candlelight of our open hearts gave vision, hope, understanding and a safe haven from the shadow areas of our relationship. Simple words of appreciation and love can light the way in relationship.

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