Candles don’t flicker in a vacuum. The flame cannot sustain inside the vacuum where there is no oxygen so the flame dies immediately. Outside of a vacuum though where a flame can survive, what makes it flicker? Wind, of course. But what if there is no wind? Well any subtle movement of a person or object near the candle can cause it to flicker. Any change in sound pressure, i.e. any strong sound, can also make it flicker.
This is the subjective question that needs to be answered: isn’t a flickering candle more beautiful than one that stays the same from its beginning until its end?
I believe it is more beautiful.
We too, as humans, are more beautiful when we allow ourselves to have and show emotions instead of locking ourselves in the vacuum of false “strength.” Just as a candle is influenced by the events around it, so too are people. To claim anything other would just be a false claim. Many will say that we as human beings shouldn’t be influenced by the events around us, that we should be “strong enough to not be affected.” This, I believe, is the stem of “toxic masculinity” and “female frailty.” Because a man should’t feel, right? And a woman is just her emotions… or so that is what we are taught to believe.
A candle flickering will only be put out if the gust of wind is too strong for it to sustain itself. As anybody who has held a candle in the wind knows, a hand can normally protect from these strong gusts of wind. So too can the protective hands of prayer, frequent reception of the sacraments, authentic friendship, and knowledge of true self in Christ guard against the strong gusts of wind from the world that sometimes overwhelm us. It is only in seeking these things out that we are able to show and share our God-given emotions as men and women of God in a healthy manner. Only then can we be a beautiful flickering candle, full of radiant life, just as is intended.