Notes in the dark.

lighted candle

In a dark room, a tiny flame is enough to live by. All it takes to extinguish it is a momentary deprivation of oxygen. Snuff out, they call this. Here is why it matters: to carry these little lights out: small, steady, slow moving, especially into nameless places that look like nothing. None of us, not one, can light ourselves. This is what it means to keep watch. 

What are you doing?


Keeping what?




What is the point?

The living.

And when I can’t see it?

Still, the living.

I can’t today.

Then wait with the dead.

And do what?

Wait. Keep the candles lit.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

5 thoughts on “Hold”

  1. Your post reminds me of a coworker who sat, a couple nights a week, all alone in a darkened nave keeping watch over the Eucharist. I envied his faith. How nice to be certain about something.

    1. Wow, Jeff. What a beautiful vision that is of your co-worker. It reminds me of my grandparents. I would watch them and wonder. Being constitutionally immune to certainty about anything but ritual and simple choices (like always having the coffee set up before I go to bed), I benefitted greatly when I learned that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. I am only certain that I need coffee (I know you get this) and I need to find a way to be hope, because others who have done this for me have saved my life, and continue to, over and over again. And because my daughter. And because young people are wondering whether to live, and how to begin when they don’t want to. I deeply relate because I wake up with this question most days and have to make it all up from scratch. Thanks for your light, Jeff. My appreciation for it runs deep.

  2. I just love this piece, Stacey. It’s beautifully worded. I’ve always loved and had a fascination for candles. I used to burn scented candles at home, all shapes and sizes, but now, I’ve got Peanut, and she’d knock them down from anywhere in the living room. It’s surprising where she can get to when she’s determined! And she is definitely very determined. I love quotes about candles and light. One of my favourites is simply this – “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle; happiness never decreases by being shared.” It’s so true. Thanks for sharing this, Stacey. Take care xx 😘

    1. Ellie, thank you for sharing this. I suspect that you gravitate towards candles because you make a point of being one, and for this I am deeply grateful. It shows in your posts, your choices, and the generous comments you leave for so many of us. These are life giving choices, and they nourish. –And any chance to delight in the antics of Peanut and company are delightful! Thank you for all that you share, Ellie. Bowing to you, deeply.

      1. Oh, Stacey. Thank you for such a kind and generous comment. It brought tears to my eyes. That’s the loveliest comment I think I’ve ever had. I’m so humbled and appreciative of your beautiful words. With much love to you, Stacey xx 💝

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