Lightbulb moments

Moments of clarity & other forms of illumination

  • A mature woman and young woman sit together on a sofa and pray holding hands
    Lightbulb moments

    Assurance – confident or uncertain?

    I think I am, I think I am. Am I? Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour, all the day long… How do you feel when you read these words from the old hymn, Blessed Assurance? Do they make you want to rejoice and shout “Amen, sister!” or perhaps quietly sing to God in your heart, grateful for his gift of salvation? Or do these words fill you with guilt and anxiety? Confident security or elusive blessing? If your assurance…

  • Group of happy Kurdish village kids
    Lightbulb moments

    Family practice

    This week, I joined three friends from my Bible study group to be honorary aunties to the young son of another friend from our group. She had invited us to her son’s school assembly because he was to receive a special presentation from a senior chaplain in the Royal Australian Navy. Anticipation We all knew what was going to happen. But her son didn’t, so that just added to our anticipation. Wearing full dress uniform, the senior chaplain addressed everyone gathered in the hall. He explained that this boy’s dad was also a naval chaplain and he’d been away at sea for almost five months. As he showed us photos…

  • Young woman sitting on concrete bench, waiting
    Lightbulb moments

    What are you waiting for?

    Do you find it hard to wait or do you draw on great reserves of patience? I’m not very good at waiting. I can go from calm to impatient in a few nanoseconds, especially if I’m stuck in a sea of stationary vehicles and brake lights. Especially if I have to be somewhere, pronto! Impatient & frustrated I’m probably not unusual—life in a big city can be very stressful. And yet, even when I’m not in a hurry I hate sitting in traffic as it creeps forward a few millimetres at a time. The first alternative route I see, I take. It might not save me any time at all,…

  • People sharing meal outdoors
    Lightbulb moments

    When sharing matters

    Anniversary It’s been seven years now, but the anniversary of my husband Paul’s death still has the potential to make me emotionally fragile for a while. Sometimes I get through it okay. But it only takes the heightened emotion of a happy event or someone else’s sadness to bring me undone. And last week I experienced both, so it was always going to be hard. I’ve learned to accept that. If you’d met me seven years ago, you would have encountered a fairly reserved person who hesitated to share anything personal with others, even friends. If you’d met me then, I might have seemed aloof to you or even a…

  • Image of girl with purple flower
    Lightbulb moments

    In praise of little things

    One day last week I was out walking in my neighbourhood enjoying the amiable sunshine and flirty breeze, when out of the corner of my eye (though why my eyes, which are not square, should have corners at all, I do not know) I glimpsed a spent camellia flower drop from its branch to the garden below. Silent descent It took one silent second for the faded magenta bloom to make its descent. No announcement, no warning, no fanfare. So if I had blinked or directed the corner of my eye in a different direction, I would have missed it completely. Would that have mattered? At this time of the year on Sydney’s upper north shore, it’s…

  • Image of woman holding tissue to nose
    Lightbulb moments

    Battling bugs and flaming arrows

    I think whoever finds an antidote for the more than 200 viruses that cause the common cold will become an instant billionaire, and receive the praise and gratitude of people everywhere. Having coughed and sniffled my way through three out of the last four weeks, I know I’d be standing in line to thank them! Sickness Apparently, no one can ever develop immunity to these viruses—there are simply too many of them. That’s why the common cold is so (ahem) common. For some people, including me, these viruses can also lead to infections like sinusitis or bronchitis, and so a cold is never just a cold. But before your eyes glaze over, let me…

  • Closeup image of baby holding Great Grandma's fingers
    Lightbulb moments


    As I wiped fingerprints from the kitchen cupboard doors, I got to thinking about why they bother me. Why do I feel the need to remove them at all? I don’t always notice them. In the rush of food preparation and mealtimes, I have plenty of other things to think about. But if I’m paying attention and the light is at the right angle, fingerprints really catch my eye. They interrupt the satin smoothness of the cupboard doors, disturbing the perfection of the painted surface. That’s why I notice them. Grime And yet it’s only when I’ve seen the fingerprints that they bother me. And they bother me because I…

  • Image of road through flat dry landscape
    Lightbulb moments

    Am I missing something?

    Last month my daughter and I drove over 3,000 kilometres from Sydney to Adelaide and back, to attend a family celebration. We could have travelled by plane—again—and it would have taken less than two hours each way in the air. And yet I longed to pass through, breathe in and listen to our wide, brown land. That’s what we miss when we’re cruising at 10,000 metres. Instead we peer at it through tiny windows, through cloud cover or darkness. Road trip But as much as I love Australia, I do find driving the long distances on our flat, smooth and almost uninterrupted highways a bit of a mental challenge. In…

  • Image of church congregation after the service
    Lightbulb moments

    Quietly, one Sunday

    It was after church one Sunday when she slipped quietly into the seat behind me. I sensed that she needed to speak and to be heard, so I excused myself from conversation with others around me. She began with an apology for missing Bible study the previous week. She’d planned to let me know before our group met, but her courage and energy were at such a low ebb she simply didn’t know how to say that she was too exhausted to come. Nothing left To her, it didn’t seem like a legitimate reason, but this mum with young children had come to the end of her resources. She had…

  • Traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge
    Lightbulb moments

    Running on empty

    The other day I drove to a friend’s house. She lives some distance from me and since it was a brisk shining day and I wasn’t running late, I chose to enjoy the warm light. With the added drama of capricious spring clouds darting across the sky, I allowed my mind to slow down—to stop rushing. Somehow, this simple decision took away most of the stress of driving through traffic. Empty I was only a kilometre from my destination when I noticed the glowing ‘Empty’ light on my car’s fuel gauge. As my pulse rate escalated, I checked the onboard computer which confirmed that my fuel tank contained not much…