My boss just left for the day, for the Thanksgiving break. Just ten minutes after she left, I received a call for her; it was her brother in Cape Verde. The sound of a woman's voice in ritual mourning was loud in the background. I transferred him to another woman in the department to give him my boss's cell phone number. One minute later, the phone rang and the voice on the other line was distraught. "Stephen, my dad just died." Then she hung up.
I sat here at my desk unable to move. Then I went into the back room to sit in silence for a few moments and try my best to hold her in the Light.
I had heard people at meeting asking for Friends to "hold so-and-so in the Light." I never knew what to do, and trusted that those around me knew exactly what to do. But now it's my turn, and I'm not sure what it means. At first, I imagined her sitting before me, surrounded by warm, radiant light. I imagined my hands spreading the light around her as she sat, around her head, her shoulders, her arms. I saw myself sitting there with her, somewhat at a distance, but my arms were long. Then I saw the source of that light. It was God--or the way he chose to show himself to me at that moment. He was a young man sitting with us, with no perceivable expression on his face. But he was spilling forth light, and it was coming from him in waves and eddies. I was taking my hands and pushing it as if I were pushing water. I was splashing her with light, and I could sense nothing but this perfect, timeless, permeating warmth. Love, God's kind of love, maybe?
When I was growing up, my mother always taught my sister and me to heal ourselves of any sickness. We almost never took medication, and even then only for the most serious fevers on school nights. Instead, we would use home remedies like lemon juice and cold water baths, and we would use visualization. We would visualize this white light around any targeted area of our bodies--sore throats, inflamed sinuses, upset stomachs. We would make the light purge any impurities and be able to heal ourselves with sheer force of will. I still do this, and let me tell you, I get sick a lot more now that I've been plunged into the wildly vacillating climate of the Northeast.
So, is that what it is, holding someone in the light? Purging someone of any impurities, restoring balance, wholeness, peace? If so, it is much more potent than what is often implied by "praying for someone." By holding someone in the light, we aren't asking God for something. We are entering into a three-person communion with God, and taking part in the manifestation of compassion. We are actively and humbly taking in our hands the tool that God has given us to heal each other, and ourselves: love. I think that this is our greatest gift and constant obligation.