On Bulbs & Brightness

The other day, I stepped into our master bedroom walk-in closet, flipping the light on behind me. 

Except nothing happened. 

I backed up and flipped the switch off and then back on again, eyes uplifted, watching the light fixture. Still nothing.

“Babe!” I called. “I think the bulb is out in the closet!”

My knight in shorts and a t-shirt arrived with the stepladder and some light bulbs, and proceeded to flip out the old for new.

When he was finished, he nodded at me, and I flipped the switch again. 


conceptual digital light bulb

“Wow!” I exclaimed. “That’s really bright! What kind of bulbs are those that you just put in?!”

“Just the regular kind,” he explained. “But now they’re both working.”

I stopped and looked at him. “Oh. I didn’t know there were two in there.”

“Yep, the first one blew a while ago. The light since then was just from the one bulb.”

I stopped and studied the fixture, squinting. “How long has it just been the one bulb up there?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. A few months, I guess.”

The mental image it gives to think of us, standing in the closet, looking at the light is, I’m sure, a bit ridiculous. But we did. We stood in the closet and looked at the light for at least two minutes. Then we looked at each other and laughed…because we realized we had been standing in the closet and looking at the light for two minutes.

“I can’t believe how different it looks in here,” I commented. “I mean – it looks so new! So clean! Even the clothes look better!”

I got a chuckle and the shake of his head, and then he headed to replace the stepladder and dispose of the old bulbs.

And still I stood in the closet. 

And it dawned on me…

A light bulb is like a passion.

Yeah…just…go with me on this one for a minute.

When you first become impassioned about something, you are SO excited. You are eating it, breathing it, sleeping it. You are trying to get everyone else around you involved in it. Your conversations revolve around it. You are so full of energy and joy and passion, and everyone around you can tell, because your light is burning so BRIGHT.

Then things happen. Maybe your plans don’t work out the way you want them to. Maybe someone hurts your feelings. Maybe you don’t have what you thought you needed. For whatever reason, your light starts to grow dim. One of  your bulbs of passion blows out. You notice when it happens, but after a while, you don’t even realize you’re living dimly anymore. 

conceptual digital light bulb

After all, you can still see. It’s not like you’re blind or anything. Or blindfolded. Or incapable of continuing on. You can still function with no issues. A little dimness never hurt anyone. And after all, it’s bad to look at the sun, right? You don’t want to burn TOO bright. People might not want to be around you as much. You might not blend in with others as much. You don’t want anyone to think you’re brighter than they are.

A little dimness never hurt anyone. So you continue on, forgetting how beautiful a bright and full light is to those around you. 

These ramblings of the light in our master bedroom closet came full circle for me last week. Last week, there was a horrible accident at a summer camp in North Carolina. A 16-year-old girl fell over 100 feet from a rope swing and died. A sweet life that was cut far too short. There are no words of explanation for that kind of tragedy.

Olivia was the daughter of a former youth pastor of our church. I had never met her. But I know many of her family members. They were devastated. And I shared in that devastation with them. 

On the day of her funeral, the viewing line had to be cut short because there were SO many people waiting to pay their respects. The line wrapped around the building that housed the 2,400-seat auditorium where the service was being held. And they showed this video.



This is a sweet sweet story that Olivia’s father wrote for her. It’s the story of a star who chose to shine bright enough to share her light with all the other stars…no matter how much time she had to do so. (It’s really an amazing video – if you have time to watch it, and share it with your children, I know you will all be touched! It’s only 6 minutes long.)

After the funeral, I watched my social media feeds explode with the hashtag: #LivitUp

It struck me…because, after all, WE are the ones who choose to shine or not to shine. WE are the ones who choose light or not-so-light. There are not many things in this life that we know for sure, but one of those things we can be certain of is that each and every one of us only have a limited number of days on this earth. When the alarm clock goes off and we rise up out of bed – we can either be dim…or bright.

What will YOU choose today? I sure wish that YOU would #LivitUp. Our world is a very sad place on most days. There are terrible things happening around us, and there are so many around you that need you to shine. BE bright! CHOOSE bright! SHINE bright! Leave the dim behind! Share your light with those around you!


Dedicated to the memory of Olivia Paige Grimes. Shine on, sweet girl.

28 thoughts on “On Bulbs & Brightness

  1. I know you meant the story to be a metaphor, but I can’t get over the fact you were happy with one bulb all that time. That would have drove me nuts!

  2. Being positive and sending out light and brightness is what I do every day and it feels amazing. It’s so important to enjoy our lives and help others enjoy theirs as well.

  3. There’s something to be said for good lighting. We have a light that keeps blowing bulbs, and mu husband keeps having to replace them. The room looks so much brighter when he does though!

  4. Thank you for this eye-opening post. Sometimes we get drowned up in the madness of life and in trying to make a living that we tend to forget what our purpose really is. We can’t all be stars but we can still twinkle! 🙂

  5. I always try to be positive. I smile at strangers because just a smile can change someones whole day. It is important to try to see the positive in every situation.

  6. Very thought provoking and inspirational. I did watch this video and I went and found the hashtag on twitter and found the video to her celebration of life services. Very heartwarming. My thoughts and prayers go out to that family. She certainly was a bright bulb.

  7. I had a big ‘thing’ yesterday. We’re def. going through big changes over here, and something tipped my scale to overwhelmed. And I was out on a walk and it started to pour, lol I decided I could either enjoy the rain or be miserable in it (literally and figuratively speaking), so I opted to enjoy it.

  8. Really a great post and it really inspires me so much. I always love to stay positive and this is really a great reminder that life has to move on what so ever. The video is amazing & I feel so sad about Olivia!

  9. I can’t tell you the amount of times my husband has had to inform me that there were two light bulbs in a fixture and I either hadn’t noticed it got dimmer, or had gotten used to it being like that for so long that it escaped me completely. And that really encompasses your metaphor. I’m sorry you lost someone close to you. May they rest in peace, and shine bright above you as you tackle your days.

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