I’m not sure why they call them fortune cookies. I’ve never made a fortune from any “wisdom” inside (although one time it said, “You will make a fortune with your friend”), I’ve never felt fortunate after reading one or eating one, and none of mine have ever come true, much less been very enlightening. However, in spite of al this I think I’ve always cracked open the cookie and read the so-called fortune. Only one time was I ever totally disappointed and that’s because there was no fortune. I’m not talking about a blank piece of paper or a statement that wasn’t really a fortune. I’m talking an empty container. I felt betrayed and almost like I had to look over my shoulder the rest of the day, fearful that some kind of mis-fortune might be coming my way.

The fortune cookie ritual is pretty fascinating when you think about it. They don’t necessarily taste good nor do their fortunes provide us with anything of value yet when they’re brought to the table they’re cracked open with a certain measure of anticipation. Then almost ceremonially people around the table read their fortunes to each other and share a moment together. The last time I went through this process with some friends I ended up having the best statement.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Now, regardless of your definition of darkness and light this is a true statement and on that day I can honestly say it’s the first fortune cookie that ever provided me with an inspiring or encouraging word. I’m sure it helped that the whole darkness and light thing is a Biblical concept. This little fortune challenged me to ask myself how I was bringing light into the world and driving out darkness. I still don’t think I’d call that a fortune but at least I felt like I got something out of the deal other than an unsatisfying cookie, which by the way was also better than normal.

So I ask you, what are you doing to drive out the darkness in your corner of the world? How are you being light? Let me hear from you.