She started small.

At first, it was dark, with nothing more than a sensation of a cool breeze against her skin. She pulled her arms and legs close, as they were the only real things she could feel. Her world was silent and lonely, although she couldn’t yet know. Her awareness was yet a small bud.

After a time, she noticed a glint at the edge of her vision, a focused, mild glow from above. Her awareness latched onto the light, but a seed of doubt grew inside her. She looked at the shine, and felt the unknown, a disparity in the darkness that she had lived for so long. But she was drawn to it as if it were touching her, pulling her to her feet.

She stood for the first time. Her legs trembled under the strain, but she looked on at the light. She reached out her hand, stretching her fingertips, stepping up on her toes, pulling herself to it. And the light came down. It grew, brightening the ground, washing away the darkness from every corner of the white field she stood in. She hesitated, pulled back, but the light kept falling gently, wave upon wave of radiance washing over her until finally a small droplet of luminance floated above her cupped hands.

“I am the light of the world,” it said, the words shattering the silence. “You’ve waited long in the dark, but you won’t have to hide anymore. Everyone must receive their light, and this droplet is yours.”

She brought her hands close, the light’s warmth melting her doubts away. The droplet looked tiny and frail, yet it felt like it could house all the life of the world. She brought it close and embraced it. The droplet disappeared, but the light remained inside of her.

“As you grow, so will your light. And so you must cultivate it, until one day you learn how to make it your own.” The words reflected through the corners of her mind, and she clung onto them like an anchor. Time went on, and she roamed through the field. She lived and grew—and the light grew inside of her.

There were others, too, although she hadn’t noticed them in the dark. Excitement filled her each time she saw them, in whatever shape they took. Some were small, some were large, some were round, while others looked like nothing she could describe. And they each had their own light, brighter here, dimmer there, and others somewhere in between.

But one day, in the corner of the field, she saw something dark. There was a small one, round one, hiding in the bush. His light was dim, and his eyes full of fear. She stepped close, but he shrunk back, growing dimmer with each breath. In him, she saw the same darkness that she had known long ago, the cool breeze that sapped feeling away.

So she gave him a piece of her light. The small one cowered, but she was gentle and offered it freely. When he took it, he strengthened, growing bright and warm, jumping and squeaking with joy. Her light had shrunk, but she smiled, swelling with delight.

She knew it was good, and she found others to give to.

There was a large one, square one, crying towards the sky. She hugged him, tapped him, gave him her light, and the tears stopped, and he smiled.

There was a slender one stuck under a rock, heavy with fatigue. She helped her escape, gave her some light, and the weariness melted away.

There was a quick one, darting this way and that. She caught him, calmed him, bathed him in light, and he grew bold and bright.

She continued giving of her light, and with each gift, her light diminished, and her body grew small. But her heart rose high and she knew it was good, so she gave and gave to all that she found.

Then one day, she saw a tree in the middle of the field. The tree was beautiful and tall, but also dry and withered, a majestic life struggling not to slip into the darkness. Standing next to it, she felt small, insignificant. But the darkness was one she knew, and the tree would soon be gone. Tears flowed from her eyes, and she knew what to do.

She gave all her light, pouring herself into the tree. The light filled it with strength, it rose high, bloomed with a thousand colors, regaining its life. And her heart swelled with delight.

She suddenly felt light, small, as if floating on the wind. The world seemed to slow as she separated and rose. She looked down from on high at the field she left behind, and remembered the words of the light that had anchored her long ago. Just then, the light spoke again, as if answering her thoughts.

“You have made it your own,” it said, surrounding her with warmth. And the field below sparkled all at once, shining with the countless droplets of her gifted light. The glimmers moved from one to another, growing with each step. The light swirled around her, and its words echoed gently. “You have brought it to others,” it said, brimming with pride, “and to others, you have been brought.”

“You are the light of the world.”