I recently attended a Writer’s Symposium at The Harris Arts Center and met some very interesting and inspiring people. One of them, Mr Bill Barker, called me a name. He called me a “shiny soul”.
That prompted me to wonder: “What exactly is a shiny soul?”
I gooogled it and got nothing satisfactory. So, I’ll offer up my own opinion. A shiny soul is something you can quickly identify when you see it. Yeah, I know that’s a lame answer. That’s why I’m going to share with you the words of my Grandma. She identified a shiny soul this way when I was still very small:
“Granny, why does it seem like bad people try to beat up on good people?”, I asked..
Grandma fanned herself in the thick night air on the front-porch, “What do you mean child?”
“Well, it seems like the better you try to be sometimes – the worse people treat you”, I said on the front step.
Grandma stood up and put her hands on her hips, “Child, do you see that light right there on the front porch?”
“Yes”, I said looking at the light perched precariously on the old front porch just underneath a badly patched roof.
“Well, God tells us that your soul is a light unto the world just like that light right there”, Granny paused to look at me and turned her head back to the light. “You see all them bugs around that light?”
“Yes Granny”, I said still looking at the light as mosquitoes, moths, and unidentifiable bugs flung themselves at the light repeatedly.
“Well, in the dark all these bugs are looking for the light just like evil does. Evil looks for the light too but for a different reason. Evil seeks to drown out the light, or worse, to cause the light to go out”, Granny still had her hands on her hips. “This porch-light is just like your soul” , Granny bent down slowly and placed her arm around me, “I’m sorry to tell you this child, but the brighter the light the bigger the bugs!”
My eyes grew wide. “Child you talk with your eyes just like your Daddy. There’s no reason to be afraid.” Granny put her hands on her hips again. “The bugs cannot put out that porch-light no matter how hard they try because the electricity keeps it going. That’s why you need God. God gives you faith. Faith is like electricity for the soul. Faith tells you to keep on shining, and what’s more, to keep shining even brighter when evil comes because it’s always the light that turns the evil away”, Granny gave me a firm squeeze. “Evil shrinks in the light. The Bible tells us this. So when you feel evil creeping up on you child, then you just pray to God and shine your light that much brighter and evil will always flee.” Granny took her hand off my shoulder and threw it toward the night just like an umpire calling someone ‘out’. Granny bent over and kissed me on the head, “You just wait and see.”
When I’m in trouble, discouraged, angry, or sad, I think back on those words and they never fail me. When I feel surrounded, discouraged and like I should just go back to bed, I think, “The brighter the light, the bigger the bugs!” That always makes smile. Then I think about a woman with only a third-grade education who taught me more about life than college ever did, and I feel like shining that much brighter.
What do you think a “shiny soul” is? Who’s the shiniest soul you know?