I would like to point out before I begin that science was my least favorite and also least successful subject to study. For anyone reading this who determines I have mixed my metaphors or butchered the science, I apologize in advance.
Fire is a tremendous energy. It is a source of heat and light; a purifier and protection. It is one of the main elements of our sustenance. For the purpose of this blog, it is also an analogy of your life; your spirit; the essence of YOU. There is a fire kindled within each of us at the start of life’s journey that consists of our hopes and dreams for the person we desire to become.
Unfortunately, this journey also brings obstacles and trials. The difficulties and troubles we face along the way will do one of two things to our fire; extinguish it or fan the flame. The outcome is up to you.
Fire needs three things to survive; fuel – heat – oxygen. Too much or not enough of any of these will kill the flame and the darkness and cold will return. The fuel for our heart’s passion is motivation. It is the spark that drives us forward when we want to quit or get tired. It is the strength to endure and persevere. Our individual motivations are as unique as we are. Some are driven by financial success, some have a specific career goal, others are simply determined to carve a better path for those coming after. There are a few of us who are happy to just keep it together one more day, with the love of the dear ones in our lives to keep us moving.
The heat, well, the heat we are all too familiar with. The adversity that crops up when least expected. The struggles we conquer and then have to conquer again. The questions are always drifting in the air above us; the whys? Why must I endure this? Why did they leave? Why can’t I fix it? Why? There are few answers to these questions, and even for the ones we can figure out, the reality stays the same. Truthfully, as difficult as it is to believe at the time, the misfortunes in our lives often do result in the refining of our souls and the strengthening of our moral fiber. While this brings little comfort during the searing trial, we can often look back and measure our growth to see how far we have come.
The last, pivotal ingredient in your life’s flame, is determination. We have very little control over the adversity and struggles we face, and even our motivations, at times, can be suspect or even selfish, but our determination, that my dear friends is all up to us. We are the sole proprietors of the resolve we shoulder in to our obstacles. And it is this resolve that brings us back to the question, are you a candle or a bon-fire?
A candle gets its fuel source from the burning of the wax. As long as the flame continues to burn down the wick and releases chemicals from the wax, the fire burns. There is plenty of oxygen around to keep the candle functioning. The problem with the candle comes when the wind blows too hard. The rushing air travels faster than the front of the flame and pushes it past the fuel source. The candle goes out when the flame cannot melt the wax and release the gas to keep it lit. The candle cannot easily withstand the wind.
Now the bon-fire is a different story. A bon-fire still has the same three elements, but this time the wind does not put out the flame. In fact, with the bon-fire, the wind intensifies the heat. Blowing on a fire increases the amount of oxygen, which in turn boosts the fuel consumption and the fire burns hotter and brighter. This is the technique that blacksmiths use to melt steel. The very thing that snuffs out the candle, strengthens the bon-fire. Is this reaching to your soul yet?
My hope for you today is to understand the power that lies within you. That determination and emotional stamina to withstand the pressure and the heat and to recycle this intensity to burn a greater desire to succeed, thrive and overcome. Not all trials by fire are the same. I know people who struggle mightily with physical illness or limitations, but do not succumb to self-pity and give up. I’ve talked to others with a history of abuse, both physical and emotional, who refuse to let their past define them. Then there are those of us who maybe have just made mistakes, bad decisions or fallen on hard times. The men and women who face each day with courage and press on. I would never mislead anyone to believe it is easy to tackle adversity, but I do believe in the overwhelming strength of the human spirit. I’ve witnessed it too many times to ever doubt.
My friends, candles can be beautiful and ornate, providing a lovely glow and a pleasing atmosphere, but you are so much more than an ornament on a shelf. You are a roaring source of emotion, love and brilliance. Do not settle for a safe life with a single wick that can easily be extinguished with the winds of time. Choose instead to be that bon-fire. Choose to lean into the wind and use its strength to feed into yours. Let your life be purified with the blemishes melted away. Determine that your fire will burn bright, hot and provide protection for those around you. Draw strength to keep you through the days ahead. Take comfort in the victories already won. Believe in the fierceness of your heart.
BE THE BON-FIRE!
Hope With Abandon