The Light Under the Bushel

Stephen Trussel

I don't remember much about my sixth grade teacher at all, except her name, Mrs. Greller, and that she had dark hair, and one thing she had once said to me. I've even lost the occasion on which she said it, but I know it was something "for my own good". What she had advised me was, "Don't hide your light under a bushel."

Now that puzzled me. I thought I knew that 'bushel' was a measurement of things that came in round wooden 'bushel baskets'-- apples or pears, or maybe potatoes. But I'd never heard anyone speak of just a 'bushel' before, and it was a kind of funny way to talk about 'light', too.

Well, since I didn't have any idea about how to find out about things like that, her advice just lingered in the back of my mind over the years, until I learned enough to know that it came from somewhere in the Bible. And eventually, I decided that it meant 'if you have something to say, say it', and everything else like that.

Years passed, and one day I thought of that sentence, and looked it up in a big dictionary. I found that phrase, and it was indeed from the Bible. Since it gave the book and chapter and line numbers, I checked it in a Bible. It was there, not only once, but in three of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and it even had a name: 'the Parable of the Lamp'.

The Parable of the Lamp. It was a famous story, one that 'everyone' knew. It was one of Christ's lessons for the people, repeated four times. It seemed immediately familiar to me. I suppose anyone who read the Bible knew it well. Maybe everyone in the class had known what Mrs. Greller had meant except me. Perhaps in some way that was connected to what she had been trying to tell me...