It had been a sloppy, rainy, cold day. John and I had been running errands and getting things done around the house. We attended a gathering that night to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend. When we got home, the unspoken agreement was to head to the back porch and our fire pit. Feet up, sitting back, long sigh.
The fun of fire is letting it warm your soles without burning your tootsies.
John and I talked about everything and nothing. We’d lapse into silence as we both stared transfixed by the flames. Mesmerized by the dancing heat. The silences felt mindless as we relaxed and watched the flames morph into shapes. Like seeing images in clouds but changing more rapidly. I began taking pictures of the fire.
Flame formation is fascinating.
The movement of the flames is affected by the least little breeze. Changes in the temperature. And rain causes it to sizzle and pop and reappear newly formed.
The time of day reflects how the flame looks as well. During the day the color seems more intense. Bright yellows and oranges. At night, it’s more the contrast between the silky darkness and the bright essence of the fire. Black and white. Light and dark. Contrast rather than color.
I’m like those flames. Affected by the least little atmospheric/experiential shifts. A change in my circumstances can cause me to float this way, bounce that way. There are times when the heaviness of my situation either sparks me to a brightness that propels me through tough times or pushes back so hard that I sputter and fizzle. More of an ember than a flame.
There’s the destructive side to flames. When it connects with flammable objects-wood, paper, hearts–it can cause damage. Hurt. I’ve seen my words act like fire in the soul of a friend, causing pain because I’ve not been careful to think through what I’m saying. Because my mouth becomes engaged before my brain. That kind of heart singeing takes time to overcome.
Fire can be a light and warmth to those who need refuge, sanctuary. The warmth of hospitality ministers to hearts, drawing people to come and relax, to rest, to restore. A flame of true friendship.
Jesus did it best.
“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:4-5
Jesus came to be the light of hope for all of us. To light the path so we could see it. Follow it. Be encouraged and warmed by it. Fueled by love and grace, He lights a way that He doesn’t ask us to go alone. A way that may cause us to waver in the wind, but not a place He hasn’t been first. His is a warm, healing light to those who long to be healed and whole.
I like the idea of being part of His light. A bigger, brighter light than I could ever hope to be alone. Part of a bigger picture.
That’s so illuminating.