Candlelight vigil came to the forefront of my mind while reading over a few of the latest world catastrophes on the internet. I noticed sentiments have become prevalent about the manner in which we react as a community and society towards these painful occurrences. Much is being said about how we come together, pray, hold a vigil or service, and go back to living our lives until the next devastation hits. We then repeat the above steps in a motionless manner, thus making prayers and gatherings pointless. It is more than understandable the answers that we seek and the feelings we have during and post trauma. We might ask ourselves “Why should we come together as a collective whole during these trying times and how can we do something meaningful?”
The Origin of Holding Vigils
With so many things moving at lightning speed now, we easily forget or miss the intentions and meanings happening around us. Holding vigils is an ancient practice in several cultures over centuries. They honor the lives that have transitioned over. It gives loved ones a special time to come together and express their tears to one another and the life that has left this realm. Vigils, offer a beautiful sign of respect. At these gatherings we also celebrate life and share our thoughts. The energy is an outpouring of love from the deepest part of the heart.
To understand and remember the root of this convention is to grasp the concept and origin, shining a new or fresh light on why it is not meaningless, motionless or pointless. Our ancestors brought together an idea that has been passed down through the ages. It isn’t an idea that was created within the last few years. It is an idea that goes far beyond a trending notion.
What Happens When We Vigil as a Community
Following some of the worst documented devastation in the U.S, Orlando Pulse, we came together across the oceans and past our differences, to follow in the steps of so many before us and honor all the dear lives that endured the events of that early morning. The Orlando vigils offered a safe house and a moment to show solidarity. This not only has been true for, Orlando, but also for an unfathomable amount of tragedies around the globe.
Coming together has helped us feel productive towards healing hatred. With every group effort, we stack intention based love, just as we do with building bricks. With each brick that we lay, we create the sturdy groundwork that cannot be shaken so easily. We stand brave in the face of the shadows. We deepen relationships and open conversations about topics that we might otherwise not entertain. Our minds evolve and our hearts grow.
Gathering Together to Honor
Gathering together is without a doubt, meaningful. The amount of energy of the highest proportions happens when we vigil. Thousands and even millions of us group within a space and hold the light of candles with purpose. We are emitting peace, we are emitting love, we are emitting strength, and we are emitting forgiveness. Under the force of the light, darkness cannot hold strong.
Nourishing food for thought, once we process our feelings, take continued steps towards forward healing. To those that have maybe lost faith in vigils, I understand how you feel. The world can seem so bleak at times. Gathering is something that you might do for your sincerest loved one. Consider that your fellow neighbor is just as much, a loved one too. To those that vigil, continue in your belief and faith. Every step we take individually, we take for each other. In this way, we build our trifecta by healing our soul.