I saw two pictures the other day in chat; one of a fire with roaring flames and the other glowing embers. It struck me that those images are representative of the lives many of us lead. For many, the kindling had always been there inside us, early in our lives—it just needed a spark-something to help ignite our desire to express our feminine side.
Once the fire is lit, it burns white hot for a time as it is fed by the intoxicating freedom of fresh air and openness about ourselves. But then, all too often, something happens to douse the fire. For some it is ridicule or shame from someone in our lives- family, friends or society. For others, life circumstances make the choice for us-an unexpected child, a need to get a conventional job, or just our own doubts and fears. The flames are smothered as we find the air supply that fueled the fire cut off.
For some, the cold hard reality of the world drowns the fire forever. We live a life of quiet desperation, always wondering what might have been. For others though, the flames are not completely extinguished. Instead, they smolder beneath a seemingly serene surface; like a campfire that has burned down to glowing coals, the desire remains-dormant but not gone. It awaits a renewed spark and fresh fuel. Sometimes, the period of night is short and the morning sun brings the oxygen that reignites the fire. But other times, that night can last for years or even decades.
My own life fell into that latter category. After a few years in my teens when the fire burned brightly, it was nearly extinguished as I grew into young adulthood. The opportunities dwindled, and life took its course. But despite that, I didn’t let the embers die. Thankfully, I found ways to revive them when they seemed to be gone. Occasionally, I got burned- my now ex-wife discovered the carefully banked coals and I thought they died out as I promised to stop feeding them. But something inside me wouldn’t let them be extinguished. After several minor flare-ups, things came to a head and the marriage ended.
After a couple more years of dark night, fresh air rushed in on banked coals and gave new life to the flames that had grown so dim. Now it is a roaring, healthy fire that brings warmth and light again to my life. I am careful to keep it contained, somewhat lest it burn out of control, but never again will I allow it to die out.
When I joined CDH almost five years ago, I realized something else-the flames not only brought light and warmth to me but to others. By not keeping it hidden in a dark closet that light could help others find their way out of the darkness and learn how to let their own light shine as well. Together, we can so brighten the world that everyone is able to see the amazing people that make up our community.
So where are each of you? Have the flames been totally extinguished? Or can you keep the embers going –waiting for the time when you can let them burn brightly again? It may be hours, days, weeks or even years, but I hope until that time you can keep the home fires burning, if only dimly.
The early years of life were hard- the world seemed cold and dark
Until one day a fire ignited from a tiny spark.
The flames –they ebbed and flowed as I passed through the many years
Occasionally they were doused by worries and also my tears.
I dared not let the world see what I buried deep inside
So quickly I built walls and learned my true self to deny.
The light and warmth from younger years became a tepid heat
And outwardly I might seem fine but I felt incomplete.
As time went by, I longed for when the fire would live again-
I knew it was not “whether”-no the question was just “when”?
Occasionally tiny flareups flashed but never seemed to last
Until I feared that all my joys were buried in the past.
But finally it happened and the flames they rose anew
And suddenly my brain told me-“it’s truly up to YOU!”
No other can extinguish unless you give them the chance
The choice is yours to make the best of every circumstance.
One day the spark will reignite the fire deep inside
The radiance from within will shine again on the outside.
The time will come when YOUR flame too will burn bright as the sun.
Until that time, be sure to tend the coals as you have done.
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