We, as humans, are not designed to be creatures of the night. We weren’t blessed with clear night vision. We weren’t given fur that blends in with our surroundings, although we can choose clothing that does. Still, in the dead of the night, we need some form of guiding light to get us to our destination.
Our forefathers depended on the moon and stars to guide them at night. Candles gave them the ability to move around the house for a few hours after dark, and in the winter months, a fire provided both light and warmth. Torches and kerosene lanterns were also used and although they did provide light, the open flames were a fire just waiting to happen. And then, in 1899, a wonderful invention arrived. The flashlight.
On the farm, I cannot tell you how many times I have followed behind a white orb as I go traipsing down to the barn or pastures to check on a cow ready to give birth. There are times when I have had a flashlight in one hand and a pistol in the other to put a stop to marauding predators. And like this morning, to let chickens out and feed them before Randy and I headed off in different directions that required us to be somewhere before the sun got out of bed.
In today’s world, the idea of no electricity for lights tends to send people into a panic. Maybe because it inspires thoughts of night creatures. Television and literature are filled with scenes of darkness that is filled with evil things hiding in that inky blackness. Even a small penlight is preferable to a total absence of light. And there are a few who just don’t want to be without their comforts of heating and air conditioning – which I can understand.
Here on the farm we don’t worry too much about the electricity going out. We are well armed with an assortment of alternative light. Our flashlights range in size from a small keychain attachment straight up to a full mega beam spotlight. We have some that attach to our heads, some that sit on counters and a couple that can be hung on hooks. Most are set in strategic locations around the house and barn for easy reach.
Flashlights are one of the tools we value most on the farm. Because of this, we keep a drawer loaded down with batteries. Some are smaller than a dime and are round and flat, and others go from AAAA to 12-volt/sealed. We often grab a pack of at least one size – ‘just in case’ – when we go to the stores. We know that if a bird sneezes while sitting on a power line that we more than likely will lose power – for about a week – so we want to be more than prepared.
As a Christian, I also keep a different kind of guiding light around – His name is Jesus. His light is brighter than any flashlight we can buy, and since His flame is eternal, He doesn’t require batteries. It’s this light that we go to long before the power shuts down, and the One we use to keep us warm when we have to be out in the pasture on those cold, rainy nights.
With winter upon us, and the certainty of bad weather to come, we plan on keeping both close by. There is a certain comfort knowing that our way will be lit, no matter which way we turn!
I started my day with a flashlight in my hand, and my Guiding Light walking beside me. I am about to end my day the same way. So, in ‘light’ of that, let me thank Jesus for sticking with me, and Mr. David Missell for inventing one of my favorite farm tools!