Lessons from the Joy Candle: Lean into Joy


The Kaufman Family Joy Candle



In my family, we have a tradition.  When a couple is married, they receive for their first Christmas a bottle of wine, wine glasses, and a set of drip candles. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s every year, we burn candles over the empty wine bottle.  Each drop of wax commemorates a moment of joy in our family.  As we burned wax over our candle this year, the aptness of the ritual, of the way I was taught by my father to grow this candle each year, washed over me.  I will do my best to share these thoughts with you.



The flame carves a deep well of wax in the center of the candle. Columns of color stand sentinel around it.


I want this color to yield – to be transformed by heat into drops of cherished memories on the growing mountain of joy below, but they stand stoic. Just far enough from the heat to be soft and mold-able, but not close enough to be changed into something new.

I gently press in on the wax, bending them toward the flame and soon it yields and drip-drops down an unseen path.  When it runs out of heat and begins to cool, it is so much more than wax, but now, marks the path of a life well lived.

Joy is a transformative force of life, but not always gentle.  

You may be molded, softened and warmed by joy, but in order to be truly transformed by it, you must lean into it.  Into the flame and the flame of the vulnerability it brings with it, but what beauty that transformation brings with it all along the way marking the path of a life well lived.

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