Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

7.03.2009

Light: from a Candle to a Bulb

In 1912, Woodrow Wilson was president, the Titanic was wrecked, Gene Kelly was born, and Ina Duley Ogdon found herself staying at home. She was tending to her injured father when she had planned to be speaking to thousands at Chautauqua.
Fast forward one hundred years or so, and the year is 2009. Barack Obama is president, an airplane crash-landed in the Hudson river, Michael Jackson died, and we still find ourselves having to turn from the glaring light of fame to the dark corners of obscurity. We still find that the desire to do something great sours the sweetness of doing the unnoticed but foundational things. This is why “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” is still so relevant to me. This is why the song became an old favorite when I first read it, and why it has become a motto for my life. Ina Ogdon turned from the great spotlight she could have experienced to her dark corner, and she rolled up her sleeves and resolved to light it with God’s light.
When she wrote, “Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,” she lassoed the procrastinator in me that wants to struggle through this part of my life until I find something really great to do.
When she wrote, “Tho’ into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,” she seized the people-pleaser in me that is more concerned with the jovial groups than with the lonely child in the corner.
When she wrote, “Brighten the corner where you are,” she convicted me of all the winds of temptation and sin that I let blow at my feeble light, and suddenly I realized that the smaller my corner is, the brighter I can make it. Matthew 5:14a says, “You are the light of the world,” and that includes all the nooks and crannies I can find!
It is not an old-world charm that makes “Brighten the Corner” so special. It is not even the exceptional musical arrangement or the expert turning of words that has helped it to endure so long. For me, it is the heart of one resolved young woman—Ina Duley Ogdon—speaking to this young woman over 100 years later saying, “Your little efforts are not little. Your one word is not short. Your one light is just what is needed to turn the tide.” And I, in 2009, can only say, “Thank you, Ina.”

This article was written for the website www.freewebs.com/marchi/. Ina Duley Ogdon’s 180 year old Michigan home in which she wrote “Brighten the Corner” was recently put up for sale and it is in danger of being destroyed. Please visit this website, scroll down, and click “Petition” to sign your name to this petition to preserve her home.

Picture from www.flickr.com/photos/gunnarfreyr/2697473168/

5 comments:

  1. A great and encouraging post, Lauren, thank you! (I signed the petition, too!)

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  2. Thank You again for writing a story for my website, I really appreciate it and it was a great article.

    Melissa Archibald
    Saving The Home of Ina Duley Ogdon

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  3. Thank you, Ruthie! If either of us ever goes on a roadtrip, it would be awesome to be able to visit her home!
    Your welcome, Melissa! Thank you for your website!

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  4. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Elizabeth! I just looked at your profile--looks like we have a lot in common!

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