My Birthday Experience and a Fitting Tribute for Thomas Edison

The Schmoyer family celebrates birthdays not with presents, but with a birthday experience selected by the birthday person. For my recent birthday, I chose a day seeing historical sites in Northern New Jersey. First, we went to see the Grover Cleveland Birthplace because of my interest in First Ladies history. Then we toured Thomas Edison’s home, Glenmont, and his laboratories.

My kids and Thomas Edison in front of Glenmont.

Thomas Edison’s laboratory looked like an amazing place to work. Have you heard of modern day startups who have a creative atmosphere to encourage inventing? Edison’s laboratories reminded me of a late 1800s version with long brick buildings full of tall windows, sturdy tables, shelves of beakers, and piles of tools.

My kids at the enterance to Thomas Edison’s laboratory complex.

I loved his library, too, complete with a bed that his wife had set up so Edison had a place to sleep when he stayed too late in the library. His roll top desk reminded me of Pinterest. He had little sections each labeled with a different type of project that he was working on. I wanted to peek in the cubby hole labeled “New Ideas.”

Thomas Edison’s library bed
Thomas Edison’s rolltop desk that has labelled cubby holes where he could put notes of ideas and information he gathered. It’s like his Pinterest boards. The desk was locked the day of his death and was not opened until years later. Then his wife and kids had a roll top desk “unveiling.” 

Edison’s work resulted in amazing inventions and leaps in technology including:

  • The first motion picture movie camera
  • The phonograph
  • And, most famously, the lightbulb.

Thomas Edison was active until his death in 1931. On the day of his funeral, people all across America honored Thomas Edison’s life and work by turning off their electric lights for one minute. For one minute, Americans sat in the darkness remembering what life was like before Edison and his invention. If it weren’t for Edison, they would still be stuck in the darkness.

The nation’s memorial moment to Edison reminded me so much of Ephesians 5:8-10 where Paul is urging the Ephesian church to take a minute and remember they formerly were in darkness. But now, because of Jesus, they were living in the light.

Ephesians 5:8-10

Take a minute and remember your former life of darkness. For some of you it may be emotionally hard to remember your life before Christ because of the hold sin and its consequences had on you. It’s ugly. You don’t want to go there.

Others of you may find this portion hard to understand because you came to faith as a child so you don’t have a wayward picture of your life before Christ. If that’s you, think about what your life would look like now if Christ had not rescued you back then. You know what sins you struggle with, even with the Holy Spirit in your life. What darkness would you be living in now if He had not shown His light in your life?

The good news is that remembering the darkness lasts only a moment. Living in the reality of Christ’s light with gratefulness, thankfulness, and praise to the Lord lasts an eternity.

How does reflecting on your former darkness effect your life in Christ today? What would you look like today if Christ had not brought you out of the darkness? If you feel comfortable, please comment below so we can give glory to God for His light in our lives.

2 thoughts on “My Birthday Experience and a Fitting Tribute for Thomas Edison

  1. Thanks for your insights and the comfortable way you share them. My friend once said we were as good as you can be while dancing on the edge of bad. Before Christ, I was a pretty average, decent (I thought), hard working young woman. It didn’t feel like darkness, but it was spiritually dark leading to eternally dark. I’m grateful that while I may still be a pretty average, decent, hardworking, slightly older(?) woman, my life in Christ is remarkable and secure, and my eternity no longer dark.


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