• sadie.speaks

This Little Light of Mine

Updated: Jun 3

So, I painted.


I painted the image that first came to me when I read about the many boys and girls, elderly and special needs' souls and bodies sexually abused in the SBC: black background of darkness with one little candle defiantly gracing the landscape. It depicts any and all survivors in religious settings.


All those precious ones taught the children’s Sunday School song,


“This little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

Oh, this little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

This little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine, all the time, let it shine


All around the neighborhood

I’m going to let it shine

All around the neighborhood

I’m going to let it shine

All around the neighborhood

I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine, all the time, let it shine.


Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine

Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine

Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine, all the time, let it shine.


Don’t let Satan [blow] it out!

I’m going to let it shine

Don’t let Satan [blow] it out!

I’m going to let it shine

Don’t let Satan [blow] it out!

I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine, all the time, let it shine”

Harry Dixon Loes


And the survivors are now shining. Darkness exposed. The Light licking at the pitchfork blackness of devils gone mad. The flames, gathering into a forest fire.


My art concepts are almost always better in my head than the actual renderings.


In this painting, I started with a white card-stock. Trying to employ my new awareness of mixing colors, I discovered black is made with blue, yellow and red. Working with discarded cosmetics often involves compromise. There are no perfect options. So, I used three nail polishes to accomplish the black backdrop.

Hot Pink 10, named Love at First Sight by Flirt Prod. Made in France

Blue-Green with glitter lacquer 132, named Tahiti Breeze by nailtini

Orange nail enamel, named Jack-O-Lantern by N.Y.C.


They all gave a warning on the bottles: keep away from heat and flame, flammable, avoid heat and flame.


Impressions while I painted:

the darkness of black was hard to achieve but it was made up of three pleasant and cheerful colors I liked very much. I needed three coats of paint. The first coat looked like a beautiful purple sky at dusk. The second coat had more green tones pulled out and looked like bile (rhymes with vile) or watery sewage. The last

coat took on a gray, depressing cast that perfected the ‘black’ I was going to achieve with this painting.


Take away: this level of darkness takes time and effort to develop and perfect. None of the sexual rot happened over night and could have been mitigated at many stages along the way. I painted in several directions, used several different brushes and mixed color several different times. It could be blacker. I chose for this level of blackness to be ‘good enough’. If I had wanted a pretty sky, I could have stopped with the first coat. I could have applied the light of a burning candle to a mostly light backdrop.


Take away: the darkness of a black backdrop is comprised of ordinary people drawn to darkness instead of Light. Hot pink, orange and blue-green shades of color are beautiful! And ordinary! Many people contributing to the darkness of sexual abuse and cover up lost their distinction and lost their way. They lost their integrity, their moral compass and their faith. Many, lost their very souls. Just because someone ‘started out’ vibrant and ‘good’ as a pastor or leader or what-not, we have to recognize them for what they are now: absorbed by the darkness and not absolved because of a former reputation or ministry you found inspirational. Darkness is as darkness does.


Impressions while I painted the candle: I imagined it brighter than the nail polish would let me achieve. This made me sad because I felt like a flame would hold more contrast and make a bigger difference. It’s hard to feel like any of this matters when people go about their lives as if the SBC news story that broke wasn’t cataclysmic; highlighting horrific abuse. It’s just another story in the news cycle. Nbd. That can weigh heavy.



Gold bronze glitter enamel, named Crème Brûlée by Revlon

Cream 160, named Shell We Dance? by Sally Hansen

Glitter 200, named Strobe Light by Sally Hansen

Light pink, no markings


The glitter flame looks like a painted fingernail which mimics the idea of using your pointer finger as a motion during the song, This Little Light of Mine. I liked that as I love long painted fingernails. I imagined the many women abused as children holding up their long painted fingernails as a flickered flame of light, singing at full voice.


I photographed the painting with various degrees of light in the room, trying to get the space as dark as I could. You can see any amount of light grabs the green out of the black and makes it a foreground color.


Some of the photos look like Jesus, robed and haloed, bringing Light to my darkness. Thank you for that unexpected vision, Lord. Some of the photos look like a person, standing alone, shining on. I planned none of this. This is why it’s art therapy. What came of my soul after painting was comfort. Jesus is the Light of the World. In turn, He says that we are the light of the world.

This Little Light of Mine, 2022

Take away: the fact I chose Strobe Light as my ‘flame’ was another unexpected surprise once I began to write about this process and checked labels. A strobe light can be so dramatic and harsh and startling that now there are sometimes warnings offered at entertainment venues about that kind of light. Sometimes, survivors come across differently than you think we should— like shoving a strobe light in your face. In reality, we are a gentle, forgiving flame trying to light the way out of the sewer we found ourselves. Sometimes, we are a raging bonfire, yes. Sometimes, startling. But always, light in dark places.


Take away: there are many candles with 'no markings'. Like the one nail polish I utilized, survivors are invisible, fighting battles you know nothing of, holding on for dear life, faceless to the greater community and still sitting among those who wounded them. They don’t have a voice. They barely have a flame. They are trying to stand against the darkness and the blackness threatens to snuff them out. Look outside yourself to see those survivors. Give oxygen to their fire, encourage their flame to grow and their candle to burn.


The last artsy act of this painting was to flicker the ‘flame’ onto the page as embers that could light the forest fire: strength in numbers. Then, I scattered crumbled orange eye shadow as a kind of ash or ember offering more light.


I painted.

I’m going to let it shine.


Sadie Speaks (b.2019)

This Little Light of Mine, 2022

Nail polish on Card-stock





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