Many years ago I read about something one mother did to celebrate the little victories in the life of her family.
She kept a candle on her kitchen table, called a victory candle, and on days when a family member had accomplished something noteworthy, they lit the victory candle and talked about the achievement. She wrote about how her children would come home from school sometimes saying, “We need to light the victory candle tonight!”
I’ve tried to do this over the years, but for some reason my husband and children haven’t really latched onto the idea of lighting a victory candle.
I light them anyway, but they have come to represent a different sort of victory for me.
On the days when we’re running crazy, when I’m not very organized, when the meal isn’t what I wish it was, when the children seem at odds with one another, I light the victory candles. Yes, I light them on the days when it most feels like we’re losing the battles of life.
I light them to help myself pause and celebrate what we’re doing. In spite of exhaustion, chaos, or just the lateness of the hour, we are having family dinner. We are gathered at the table to pray, eat and talk together. And that is a victory.
So on the nights when my failures are the most glaring, I turn down the lights and we eat dinner by candle light. It brings a mood to the table that fills in the gaps and helps smooth over my inefficiencies. Instead of sitting at the table feeling like a failure, this simple act allows me to sit at the table and say to myself, “We are doing it. We are having family dinner. We are being consistent. This is a victory.”
It’s my simple strategy for fighting off the feelings of discouragement that come knocking at my heart on the tough days. And it helps, it really does, which makes it a victory all over again.