There is peace and a calmness when lighting a candle. A hush occurs in the seconds it takes for the wick to catch a flame. A beautiful silence exists in those moments. It becomes a time of unspoken gratitude.

Today I took a few moments to light a special candle I have in my home. I reflected on the loved ones that have gone before me in this life, especially the members of my family that struggled with mental illness. In the silence, I asked for their forgiveness for any hurt I may have caused them, and also expressed my forgiveness of hurts they caused me.  I expressed my gratitude for the things they taught me, the times enjoyed with them, and the love shared — no matter if it was often or just a fleeting moment in time.

Why did I do this? It may sound silly, but it helps to remind me that life is precious. We never know when our time is up, so to speak. And if I don’t reflect on this from time to time, I can get wrapped up in all the stuff that doesn’t matter. It also puts my relationships with those who are with me now into a better perspective. How can I treat those that I love better? How can I respect and nurture them? How can I let them know of their importance, not just to me, but to others? How can I provide comfort and encouragement? In taking a few moments to reflect on those that have gone before me, guidance has a chance to whisper in my ear and take a seat in my soul. In being a better person to those around me, I, in turn, learn from them, and the positive cycle continues.

Consider taking some time to light a candle today, and “listen” to those that have gone before you. Perhaps they have words of wisdom that will touch a special place in your heart, and assist you on your journey through this precious thing we call life.