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Friday, May 4, 2012

Fires Burning


            Once when I was fourteen, I was awakened by an orange glow in my bedroom that cast shifting patterns of light on the walls.  Frightened, I quickly sat up in my bed and looked out the window.   Behind our house, a very large old barn that had stood on the the remainder of the farmstead that was now being turned into a vast subdivision was in flames.  I watched with eyes wide as the flames raged with loud crackles and hisses, sending glowing embers and smoke high into the air.

           There was no great concern that our house was threatened by the fire.  The barn was at least 300 yards away and none of the embers were falling near to us.  Yet I couldn't help but think about the possibility of losing our home to a fire--losing everything I owned, my parents owned, and our refuge of security and comfort.

            My mother used to tell the story of when her family's house burned down when she was still a young girl.  She was at school  on the playground.  The children could see the smoke from the fire in the distance.  One of the boys teased her that it was her family's house burning   Later my mother was informed that it was the house where she lived that had burned.  When she got to the home site she saw that there was little left of the place.

           Later, a man who was known about town as a drunk and who had sunken into an errant life came to my mother's family with his story of change.  After the house fire, he had looked among the ruins and found on the fireplace mantle a small Bible, lightly singed but otherwise intact.  This discovery caused him to evaluate his life and decide to change.  He had given up alcohol, and now reconciled with his family was intent on living a useful life.  He thanked my mother's father and returned the Bible which eventually ended up in my mother's possession.

        Another artifact of fire that I recall seeing when I was a kid was something that one of my friends showed me.   My friend's father had a rectangular mass of nails that had been melted together.  His father had found them after a fire at a business place.  The nails had apparently been inside of a box which had acted as a mold to keep the contents intact after the box itself had burned away.   The individual nails could still be seen, but they had been fused into the permanent shape they now held.

          I would never want to experience the loss of my home or any of my possessions through a fire.  Losing everything I own seems so devastating.  Yet people survive these losses and start over.   Perhaps there is a certain sense of being unshackled from the binding nature that possessions can hold upon us.

          A fire can purge, fuse, or free us.   Fire can give us light to help us see, give us heat to make us warm, or unleash energy to provide us a comfortable  lifestyle.  The flames might be controlled or might be a destructive force gone wild.  Fire can be many things but hopefully we are never burned by it.

          Do you have a fire in your life that is threatening to go out of control?    How do you control the fires that are burning in your life?   Is there a fire smoldering within you that you need to let burn?

             Be here Monday May 7th for my A to Z Reflections for Tossing It Out.     Watch for the Linky list at the A to Z Blog so you can add the  link to your Reflections post.

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  1. The fire in my life has got out of control months ago. Have to put up with the situation.

    Have a good week-end.


  2. Wow Lee. That story about the town drunk finding the bible sent tingles down my spine and it's still tingling while I write this, what a beautiful story. You're so right about fire buddy. Fire can end life but it can also birth new life, it's a comforting thought.

  3. This one of the most interesting posts I've ever read. I was totally engrossed in it. Amazing.

  4. Hmmm...I'll really have to think about this, Arlee. Thanks for sharing. This is an interesting year for my family, lots of milestones reached and new roads created. I have lots of fire needing to burn, just never thought of it burning to free me. Interesting...

  5. That story of the returned bible is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

  6. It's certainly an interesting topic to contemplate - what would happen if I lost everything and had to start over. I used to say that I'd grab my photo albums in case of a fire. These days though, I'd grab my Bible. I've been studying inductively for thirteen years, and my Bible is very marked up and well used. Those markings (Precept Upon Precept, Kay Arthur method) represent a LOT of hours, and when I'm reading a passage I've studied, they remind me of all that I learned.
    Like Alex, I really liked the story of the man coming to faith after finding your family's Bible. God's Word is powerful.
    Tina @ Life is Good

  7. Right now, the fire is trying to rip a part my hard work and my writing time. Life's curve balls aren't the most fun to deal with and they come in many different forms.

  8. No fires burning in my life at this point, thank goodness.

  9. when I was 11 or so, there was a fire in the other half of our duplex. They knocked on our door and told us to come out; it was very early in the morning. WHile my 19 year old brother complained, I ran to my room and saved some of my most prized possessions. (Stuffed toy cats!)
    the fire was small and never got to our side of the duplex, but i remember the fear and excitement.

    Mimi Torchia Boothby

  10. I've often thought of how sad it would be to lose all the little family tokens that have accumulated over the years, and how freeing it would be to start fresh with no encumbrances. Some days I think it might be nice to start a fire in my brain and get rid of some of that old baggage that lurks in the corners. Fire has its uses.

  11. My daughter leaves her two favorite stuffed toys by the door every morning when she goes to school so that I can save them in case there's a fire.

    This was something I never thought about as a child but she's got her contingency plan.

  12. Yvonne -- Sometimes we just have to accept the fires that burn around us and hope they don't scar us too badly.

    Yeamie -- Fire can be an immensely beneficial force.

    Richard -- I feel honored to have you say that.

    S.A. -- Be careful. Fire is to be used with care.

    Liza -- I always liked hearing my mother tell that story, especially when she showed me the Bible from the event.

    Alex -- Thanks!

    Tina - I've always hated thinking about the "what would I save?" question. Much of it would start being missed as years passed and I'd remember something that I didn't think of at the time I lost it.

    Shelly -- When one obstacle is overcome another will always pop up in its place.

    Karen --- Just so no spontaneous combustion causes a flare up unawares.

    Mimi -- A terrifying event for a child, but not as much in the way of memory steeped possessions to lose.

    Dolores -- We have so much that holds us back and ties us down. I'm not willing to give up much of it voluntarily and hope I never have to lose it, but....


  13. Suze -- She's left you with a big responsibility. I didn't think of things like that too much as a child, but I did start thinking about it about the time of the barn burning event.


  14. A year ago yesterday my house almost burned down. An outlet caught on fire in the middle of the night, burnt the wall, the curtains from the window above, and the sheets that were sitting just below it. It's a miracle that it went out. Maybe fires are a good way to test how strong someone is.

  15. the only fire smoldering inside me is my writing fire! :)
    Happy weekend!

  16. Loved the stories. Very interesting and inspiring.
    My husband lost his childhood home to a fire and it makes him annoyingly careful with all things fire related.
    I try not to have too many 'fires' going. I feel like I don't do a good job at anything if I don't give enough attention to any one project.

  17. I'm more in a simmering coals place in my life. Not sure if I'll welcome a sudden fire or not.

  18. Oh, yes. I have a fire. Keeping it contained is not always easy either. Probably why I write so much...

  19. Jennifer -- A near fire can be a scary experience and a wake-up call in more ways than one.

    Nutschell -- Then fan the flames!

    Yellow Rose -- I probably have too many and need to do some focusing.

    L.D. -- Sometimes it's good to stay in the comfort zone until it's apparent that you need to turn up the heat.

    MJ -- Writing can be a good way to keep the fires in check.


  20. we've been lucky - our lives haven't been touched by fire. It is so devastating.

  21. It exists in my desire to love, but my fear in doing so.

  22. I really like this post - makes me sit back and think. While physically I've never encountered a fire, and I never want to, I think life is filled with many different fires, many small, and occasionally the big one. While difficult, afterwards, it feels the struggle was worth it... i came out a better person.

  23. And the winner is... check out today's blog post to claim your award...

  24. that image of the melted nails is quite powerful. Followed you here from your response to that recent "rant" -- I agreed, even if you rant you should have paragraph breaks. Decided against tossing in my two cents there, and decided to vist your blog instead:)) I too feel like I just came up from air from the bottom of some lake and reading your blog rescued me:))

  25. Wonderful story Lee, particularly the part about the Bible.

    No fires at this point, just some smoldering embers.

  26. Jemi -- I feel quite lucky in that respect as well.

    Nellie -- That is a common fear with many of us. I guess that's why there are so many love metaphors that deal with fire and getting burned.

    MJ - I will check it out. Thank you for whatever it is.

    Sandra -- Thank you for your agreement. I used to make that same mistake of the long blocks of writing in my blogs until it was pointed out to me. I like to help others if I can. Thanks for stopping by and hope to hear more from you.

    Paula -- I have a few embers smoldering as well. Hoping we can both keep ours under control.


  27. One small fire that is out of my control, but I'm just learning to deal with it.

    Thanks for sharing that story. Puts things in perspective.

  28. WOW! That was an amazing post, Lee! I really enjoyed reading it. I usually shy away from anything related to fire or candles. One of my dear friends and co-workers died in a fire that started with a candle in her bedroom. She was almost thirty and was a beautiful young woman who loved so many. I still miss her. It's been four years and five months.

  29. I have had a few fires in my life this year---some encouraging, some devastating. Great to visit this blog after a while.


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