Once there was a searchlight named Barney. As a young bulb, Barney traveled with his family from parking lot to parking lot as he watched his parent’s brilliant white beams of light illuminate the sky. When he finally grew into a young spotlight, he tried to shine as brightly as his parents, but it was useless. Their beams were too bright and too strong. No one even noticed Barney’s light, including his parents. They told him their lights were bright enough for the whole family and he should just let them light his way. So he did.
Finally, after many years, Barney grew into a good size searchlight. He had a glorious bright beam, but he couldn’t see it. All he could see in the evening sky were the beautiful beams of the other searchlights off in the distance. He wanted to meet them, but he was afraid to leave the light of his parents. He was afraid of the darkness.
One day a young searchlight, about Barney’s age, was wheeled into the parking lot next to him. She was stunning and had a beam of light almost as bright as that of his parent’s. She and Barney became good friends. One night, when it was time for her to go, she invited Barney to go with her. He knew this was his only chance to leave home and enter the world without entering the darkness alone. So he bid his parent’s farewell and in spite of their protests, followed the path of his new friend.
Years passed and Barney made many new friends. He was transported from town to town and parking to parking lot. He always managed to have someone by his side which was comforting to him. After all, he was so much more effective if there was another searchlight beside him because he was too dim when alone. As they rotated, side by side, Barney’s favorite part occurred when their paths crossed. Only then did he truly feel alive and vibrant. When he continued his circular path every evening, he paid no attention to the stars or the clouds or the sky. All he wanted to do was focus on his companion beam, admire her beauty and wait for that split second when their paths intersected.
One day Barney was taken to a parking lot of a brand new Kroger store. It was daylight and he was quite sleepy. He barely remembered a searchlight was set up next to him that day. As evening came and the generators were fired up, Barney emerged from his sleep. As he looked around, he noticed the new searchlight beside him. There was something different about her although he couldn’t quite figure out what it was. She was more beautiful than anything he had ever seen and she felt so familiar to him even though he was sure he had never seen her before. He was intrigued by her in a way he had never experienced.
As their motors started and they began their rotations he noticed they were incredibly well synchronized. Before, Barney had always been either faster or slower than his companions and he was always adjusting his speed to theirs. This searchlight, however, was in perfect tune with him through no efforts on his part or hers. He was in awe of her grace and beauty. She introduced herself and told him her name was Sally. They talked as he had never talked to anyone before. She was kind to him and really listened and cared about what he had to say. When their paths crossed the energy was incredible. It was so intense that Barney became impatient with the time it took for their paths to cross each time. He decided the importance of their beautiful synchronicity paled in comparison to the rush he felt when their beams met. He could think of nothing else and he became obsessed with her. Faster and faster and faster he spun. By the time each morning came, he collapsed in exhaustion. Despite his exhaustion, he had trouble sleeping each day in anticipation of sharing his nights with her. He lived for that split second during each rotation when he could share her energy. It was the only time he felt alive.
One night during their nightly rotations, after several weeks had passed, Barney reached phenomenal speeds. Then suddenly an incredible thing happened. The motor that enabled Barney to turn stopped abruptly in the middle of his rotation. It was weak from Barney’s excessive speeds and had burned its wires. Barney panicked! Then, he realized that Sally’s motor had also been shut down just as their paths crossed in the darkened sky. The energy Barney felt was incomprehensible. The oneness he previously felt for only brief periods was finally sustained.
Sally took this rare moment of stillness to notice the true beauty of their world. She remarked on the beauty of the midnight sky, the glimmer of the stars, and the soft cushions of clouds as they waltzed through their beams. Barney refused to look. All he could see was Sally and all he wanted to do was stare at her and enjoy her beauty. She tried to get him to see the moon, the eternal beam that would light his path forever, but he refused. He was afraid to look away for fear he would lose her. He wanted to feel this way for eternity. They spent the entire evening together, locked in each other’s beams. Although he fought the inevitable sleep when morning came, he finally succumbed to his weariness and drifted off.
The next evening, Barney awakened and, to his horror, discovered he was alone. Sally was gone. He felt lost and he was sure his life was over. He didn’t want to shine anymore. No one would see his weak little beam and no one would come to the store. They would surely send him to the scrap metal yard.
The hum of the generator grew louder and louder and the motor began to turn Barney around and around. He then noticed a note taped to his stand. It was from Sally. It said “Once you can find yourself in the light of the moon, we can be together again.” At first he didn’t understand for he had found himself in her. She was the only thing that could make him happy. He didn’t want to look at the moon, it was too bright. All he wanted was the energy he felt with Sally.
As he turned and his beam cut through the black sky, a peculiar thing happened. Cars were coming from every direction. Barney was amazed! They could see him! He then realized he had no other beam to watch, but his own. He was astounded by the beauty and brightness of his beam. When he followed his path and then looked beyond it, he noticed, for the first time, the twinkle of the stars, the softness of the clouds and the mystery of the sky. He was no longer afraid of the darkness.
During his next rotation, off in the distance he saw a familiar beam. It was Sally’s. He smiled to himself as he knew he no longer needed her light to reflect his own. He could finally enjoy her in freedom and separateness and truly knowing that fact comforted him. He had a life of his own to share with her now and he knew in time he would. As he followed her beam from the ground to the sky he saw something he had never seen before. As her words echoed gently in his mind, he stared directly into the brightness of the moon and allowed the comfort of its eternal light to illumine his soul.