And the Light Shines On

And the Light Shines On

In this past week, our nation has honored two very different lives  – Aretha Franklin and Sen. John McCain. Although their lives and our remembrances of them were vastly different, there were some important commonalities.

Aretha’s voice stirred in us a passion that ignited a light. John’s life revealed to us what it meant to walk toward a light that shines brighter than any one individual. Both lives sang of greatness – of love, hardship, faithfulness, tenacity and respect. Both lives sang of a higher calling and greater purpose, echoing the voice of our better angels.

Photo credit: Hannah Hunsinger, The Collegian

Now, the Queen of Soul is gone and our own souls pause in silence. The Maverick of the Senate is stilled and we stop in our tracks, wondering where his steps would have led.

But we must keep singing. And we must keep walking.

We need our souls to be inspired to plead Precious Lord, Take My Hand. We need our hearts to be reminded of How I Got Over. We need to feel the pride of being a Natural Woman while respecting our fellow man. Collectively, our voices can echo these refrains.

Aretha Franklin, photo credit: The Source

Our feet must not falter in walking a path that puts country ahead of party and personal gain. Our steps must walk the well-worn path of our democracy, defined by the ideals and tenants that have created and sustained it through past centuries and generations. Our direction must be steadfast in the belief that truth trumps alternative facts and hollow rhetoric. Collectively, our next steps can continue this path for the next generation.

Sen. John McCain, photo credit: William Thomas Cain

Although imperfect, their lives demonstrate what is possible when we strive for a greater purpose – a greater good. And the passing of these two lives in such a short span of time offers a moment of reflection.

For all their differences, the lives of Aretha Franklin and Sen. John McCain inspire and challenge me to both look for and be the light. They offer to me an example of what it means to sing with confidence and walk with conviction.

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home


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