On my first visit to Unity Village in 1986—in and of itself a dream come true—I especially wanted to see the famous Unity light in the cupola above the Silent Unity® Prayer Vigil Chapel.

Prayer associates take shifts here, praying nonstop day and night for all those who send in prayer requests. This light, known far and wide as “the light that shines for you,” represents the light of the Christ within us all. Like the light of our spirit, it is ever shining.

I had envisioned this light on numerous occasions when contacting Silent Unity to ask for prayer. While the reassuring voice on the other end of the line erased my tears with positive prayer and affirmations, I saw in my mind’s eye the brilliant light shining. The prayer and the personal visual of the light always brought peace to my troubled soul. On this night, however, I would see the light for myself in person. I was truly thrilled.

I was at the Village for a retreat, and I’d carefully planned the time I would slip out of the meet-and-greet activities so I could position myself to see the light just as dusk was turning into darkness. But I got so involved in meeting the others that my timing was thrown off. I ended up dashing across a dark campus, not quite certain if I was even heading in the right direction. Glimpses of my map confirmed I was.

Finally, I found myself standing on a stone porch near the east end of the Administration Building, looking at the light, beaming in the total blackness of night. I was in awe. It was one of those humbling spiritual moments. But then with no warning at all, the light suddenly turned off.

“Oh, no! This can’t be!” I cried out into the darkness. “I simply can’t believe this!”

I next heard a kind voice come out of the darkness.

“May I help you?” the voice asked. “I’m a ministerial student.”

“No, no you can’t help,” I responded, my words brushing away his offer. “It’s just so unbelievable. And so very sad.” I choked back tears. Remembering my manners, I managed to add, “But thank you.”

I still couldn’t comprehend what I had just witnessed, and so I kept studying the situation, not turning toward the person.

“You see,” I continued, my voice breaking even as I struggled to steady it, “the light that shines for me and, well, you … just went out.”

There was silence behind me, then a slight cough and some shuffling of feet.

“Um,” the kind voice spoke again, “you’re looking at the Administration Building. The Silent Unity Building, the Chapel, is across the way.”

I was so grateful it was nighttime because my face flamed red. I started to laugh, as did the student.

As I turned to finally look in the right direction, the helpful man went on his way, leaving me to stand alone, gazing at the powerful Unity light. I thought of what had just happened and of how I sometimes do the same thing in my day-to-day life—seeing things not as they are but as I want them to be. Like people, for example. I may completely misjudge them, shaping them into individuals with personality traits I want them to have, not seeing them for who they really are. Or like making an investment that on the surface looks like a sure thing. Then, when the friendship or investment fails, my heart, spirit, and sometimes even my bank account are left broken.

To compound the hurt, this usually happens when I have failed to listen to another’s perspective or rejected someone’s offer to help me. I have learned many life lessons because I was convinced I saw the real deal when in reality, I was not seeing the right light.

That experience at the Village was a great lesson for me about rising above the ego self and centering daily on the Christ light, where perfect direction and insight on all life’s concerns are always available. I never have to go far to connect with this light; all I have to do is just be still and go inward. The light will always be there. It will forever shine for you and me.


This article appeared in Unity Magazine®.

About the Author

Janet Templeton DeVries is a freelance writer living in Texas. Her work has appeared in Unity Magazine, Daily Word®, and various newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle. She has also been published in braille by the John Milton Society for the Blind. A Unity student for 40 years, DeVries attends Unity of Houston.

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