“... let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” — Romans 13:12
“It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness” — Chinese proverb.
In dark times, a little light can be a good thing, a rallying point for the souls cast in the shadows and a bonfire of warm hope.
This Friday night, South Dakotans are being asked to embrace a manmade light amid the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic with the Let It Shine South Dakota event. Inspired by an effort last month in Sioux Falls, Friday’s event calls on the state’s residents to shine lights from 9:30-10 p.m. local time. It can range from stadium lights to porch lights, holiday lighting to flashlights — anything that pierces the evening with beams of hope, if only for a few precious minutes.
This event would not only be encouraging but also, in a sense, quite healthy.
We have lived in dark, heavy times since the pandemic consumed us in early March. It has done more than caused sickness, death and worry, It’s also erased practically everything we knew as normal. It has forced the alteration of school classes and the cancelling of school activities en masse. It has forced church congregations to give up, literally, congregating in person and turning to online connections to connect. It has wiped out seemingly countless plans and activities, or forced them to be significantly altered. It has closed businesses where people once socialized. It has cut off so many things that were everyday avenues of escape for each of us.
It has taken the present hostage, and it has removed the certainty of any future plans.
Even beyond all those things, it has effectively isolated us from one another. As a rule, we no longer gather, we no longer team up, we not long meet face to face. The pandemic has eroded our unity. We certainly share in the hardship and strain of the limitations and trepidations that are part of our daily lives now, but there seems to be little else currently that binds us together.
That’s why Friday’s lighting event could be a good, healthy thing. It will allow us to share in an activity that takes control of the darkness for a while and bring something bright and hopeful to the faceless night.
The Yankton School District plans to be doing its part. The district announced that it will be turning on the floodlights at both Crane-Youngworth Field and Williams Field to help the city glow.
Residents throughout town are also asked to shine lights and/or take in the bright statements that will be made Friday night.
We’ve seen reports of groups in several other towns across the region planning to get involved in this event. It can be seen as a community effort that brings those towns together. It can also be seen as a sharing of hope and resolve.
We encourage everyone who is able to either shine a light this Friday night or take in the metaphorical bonfires of hope that will be lit across South Dakota. It could lift your spirits in a celebration of brighter, better times to come.