grew up listening to old gospel standard hymns like “This
Little Light of Mine (I’m Gonna Let It Shine).” I love
those songs; they make me smile. And, even as a small child, they
pushed me to learn what those lyrics meant.
guess it’s why I love lighthouses. It’s my own mind’s
eye version of being “the light of the world,” as Christ
said in his Sermon on the Mount:
are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be
hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on
a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
words, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
think of the lighthouse, just hanging out and giving light. Shining
in the darkness, as a beacon of help to those looking in their
direction. Somewhere along the way, after my conversion to The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I figured I’d try to be a
lighthouse, of sorts.
days, the power plug gets pulled. Some days, it seems I need a new
light bulb. But the concept of shining whatever light I have turns
out to be one that, ultimately, helps me more than anyone. It’s
brought me joy, a strengthened relationship with the Savior, new
friends, and connections with people who have very shiny lighthouses
a simple, yet profound principle. The words in Doctrine and
Covenants 115:5 teach it this way:
I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a
standard for the nations.”
are profound words. Among the principles we’re each striving to
better understand and live, this one is quite doable. There’s
plenty of darkness in the world, along with plenty of grievances,
petty issues, ugly conflicts, and heavy burdens. Most of us may not
have the opportunity to be a standard for a nation. But we can do so
for our home; for our school; our work; the gas station attendant; a
stranger who looks in need of an uplift.
can pick our venue for the day, so to speak, and remember some good
advice that came from none other than Arlo Guthrie: “You
can't have a light without a dark to stick it in.”
words! Each one of us is equipped to shine in our own unique way,
standing for truth and goodness wherever we find ourselves.
There are plenty of dark spots in which we can shine.
something kind to a cashier? In an elevator? I love chatting in that
confined space, with the goal of bringing at least one or two smiles.
People with perfectly good conversational skills seem to forget
how talking works when those elevator doors close. So, my newer
venture has been to start talking as soon as I step in. Some folks
ignore me. But some smile and join in a quick but fun exchange.
seems a silly little thing. But when all is said and done, isn’t
it all the little things that really matter?
days, regardless of circumstance, we can be a lighthouse — and
shine, even when we don’t feel so shiny. I have a
sneaking suspicion that the Savior smiles when we lighten the way for
another person, and when we lighten up, ourselves. When that
happens, we all benefit a great deal. That’s good! And goodness
Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, grandmother, teacher, author, and songwriter. Her
undergraduate study at BYU was musical theater. She has a Masters degree in interpersonal
A Billboard award-winning songwriter with hundreds of songs to her credit, she uses music as a
teaching tool. But her favorite way to use music has been to sing to her children. You should
hear the family's rousing versions of "Happy Birthday"!
In addition to three solo albums in the LDS market, she co-wrote "Women at the Well" with
Kenneth Cope and "My Beloved Christ: with Randy Kartchner. She is co-writer of the theme
song for Utah's Make-A-Wish foundation, the song for the Special Olympics program, and
EFY's theme song.
She writes for several online magazines and columns, and has authored several books. Her
website, www.goodnessmatters.com, is her way of continuing to grow goodness in the world,
pointing people gently toward Christ and eternal principles of truth.
She has spoken for the Church's various Youth and Family programs for 25 years. She and her
husband Dean have eight children and four grandchildren. She adores being a wife, mom and
grandmother. She loves flowers, brownies, cooking Italian and Southern foods, the ocean, and
laughing every chance she gets.
Vickey was baptized a member of the Church as a teenager in Virginia. She serves as gospel
doctrine teacher in her ward, and Dean serves on their stake high council.