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By Elizabeth Wine

On a beautiful June evening I ventured outside at my parent’s farm. I found myself face to face with a joy from my childhood — fireflies! I gathered a mason jar, a covering, made some air holes and found grass to make it more habitable.

It was harder catching the fireflies than I recalled. My reflexes must be slower, my feet crunch the leaves louder, or I have forgotten the path the fireflies make in the sky. I caught my first one solely by accident, the jar and one firefly just happened to intersect. The next, though it had evaded my fingers one time, I caught after about a five minute stroll.

Once in the jar, they immediately began looking for a way out. It is not in their destiny to be so narrowly confined. I felt guilty, and could stand to keep them only for a few moments. I noticed they glowed less in the jar. I am sure there is a scientific explanation, but it felt as if they were not able to be their true selves. Their Light was not allowed to shine.

When I removed the lid, they both continued to crawl around. I gently put the jar on its side and removed the grass. One of the fireflies quickly found its way out, paused and took flight. The other one took a bit longer. It did not seem to realize that freedom was at hand and continued making pointless circles around the jar.

I could have shaken the jar or reached in and grabbed the firefly, but neither act seemed respectful. Eventually, it found its way to the outside of the jar. This one did not take flight so quickly, and its movements seemed more tentative. Yet, it wasn’t any less beautiful or purposeful than the other. It just needed a bit longer to adjust. At one time or another we may find ourselves in similar situations as the fireflies. We may feel trapped, without options, and feel like we are never going to get out of a situation. Yet, God opens doors and gives us graceful freedom. Some of us may need a little more time to spread our wings and fulfill our purpose in life.

Matthew 5:16 (CEV) encourages us to “make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” George Fox instructed, “let your lives preach, let your light shine.” We were created to glorify God and to be joyful creations, striving to live fully in the vast sky, not confined to a jar or boxes or cubicles. We are called to a higher purpose, and yet the person who usually holds us back the most is ourself. I encourage you to let your light shine boldly, with joyful praise to God.

Now, I’m not sure what the fireflies took away from this — other than to watch out for 30 year olds with mason jars!!

Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Wine attends University Friends Meeting in Wichita, KS. She recieved her Masters of Social Work from Wichita State University, and currently provides play therapy services at an elementary school. Additionally, she works part-time at her meeting as Director of Children’s Ministry.