A fine wax candle that has been stored in a box with many of its brethren complained that it was being condemned to an unproductive life of forced leisure. “What good is a candle if it doesn’t burn?” “Isn’t it what I was made for?”
“Your turn will come,” comforted a stately ornamental candle nearby. In due time the candle was taken from the box, placed in an elaborate holder, and its wick was set a flame. Now the candle was satisfied. Its unflickering light penetrated into the dark corners of the room and could be seen through the window at quite a distance.
After a time, the candle noticed that it was decreasing in size, even though its flame remained as bright as ever. “What will happen to me?” exclaimed the candle when it had made its discovery. “Moment by moment I am growing smaller. The trees don’t have this problem. They grow consistently larger. Why should I be rewarded for my enlightened services by forfeiting my very substance?”
At this point the ornamental candle spoke up, “Why are you so fearful? Can’t you see that you have been transformed into light? Even human beings don’t often achieve this. The light that goes out of this place becomes radiance elsewhere. All of us must burn; whether it be on an altar or in a humble hut, we are all prophets preaching that the time of darkness will sometime end.”